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Emma's Story

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Emma Ruth Searer, 96, Elkhart, died at 12:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 20, at Miller's Merry Manor in Wakarusa, where she had been a resident for two months.
She was born Sept. 29, 1921, in the Benton Township home of her parents, Ralph and Ruth (Emmert) Weber.
She married Sherman Lowell Searer Dec. 12, 1942.
Ruth is survived by four sons, Verne Searer (friend Sandra Garza), Floyd (Sue) Searer and Ralph Searer, all of Elkhart, and Crist Searer, Tampa, Florida; six grandsons, Wesley Searer, St. Petersburg, Florida, Blake (Amanda) Searer, Kevin (Tiffani) Searer and Alex Searer, all of Elkhart, Craig (Cheri) Searer, Ada, Michigan, and Collin Searer, Ferndale, Washington; six great-grandchildren; several nieces and nephews; and close friend, Marcia Bechtel.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Sherm; her parents; brothers, John (Edna) Weber and Lowel (Loretta) Weber; and grandson, Michael Simeri.
After graduating from Wolcottville High School in 1939, Ruth moved to Elkhart, residing in the same rooming house as her brothers while working at two band instrument companies: in the advertising department at H&A Selmer on North Main Street and then assembling clarinets at the Pedler Co. on Baldwin Street, where she also met Sherm.
Thereafter, she worked as a supervisor at the Kingsbury Ordnance Plant near LaPorte, leaving in December 1942 to join Sherm in Lubbock, Texas, where he was stationed at Lubbock Army Air Field. They were married at the base chapel and lived in Lubbock until returning to Elkhart after Sherm's discharge in December 1945.
While raising her sons, Ruth was an avid contester, winning many area contests, most notably a Drake's Department Store contest in the 1950s worth $1,000 in merchandise.
When Sherm was seriously injured in a 1964 car accident, Ruth took over the day-to-day operations of his Bardahl distributorship, still raising four sons and visiting him in the hospital.
Over the years, she was a distributor for various other products, including Tri-Chem, New Image and Melaleuca. From time to time, she helped out at estate sales run by her friends, Janet Perkins and Jamie Heiman.
For about 20 years, starting in her early 60s and continuing until she was 80, she delivered wood products to area factories two days a week in her blue pickup for Omega Industries Inc., owned by her son, Floyd. She was known as the "candy lady" to area plant receivers because she always had candy to give them. She continued to drive a pickup until June.
Ruth enjoyed raising various flowers and plants and still owned a cactus plant given to her by her mother-in-law, the plant now more than 70 years old.
She learned to fish and play golf while taking two Hubbard Hill residents on weekly outings, one fishing and one golfing, five years each.
She and Sherm enjoyed traveling, flying their own plane to Guatemala in 1951 and later to Mexico. During their retirement years, they took many bus tours with Menno Travel over a 20-year period.
Most mornings Ruthie could be found having brunch at Cock-a-Doodle Cafe, the owner of which, Jack Kenney, she referred to as her "adopted" son.
Ruth was a born-again Christian, most recently attending Abundant Life Ministries Inc. in Elkhart and Granger Community Church.
Visitation will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28, at The Omega Center (Walley-Mills-Zimmerman Funeral Home), 2130 Middlebury St., Elkhart, followed by a public graveside service at Olive West Cemetery. Omer Yoder will officiate.
Memorials may be given to Midwest Museum of American Art in Elkhart.
Walley-Mills-Zimmerman Funeral Home has been entrusted with arrangements.
Published on October 25, 2017
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