Obituary of Emma Searles
For everything, there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be
born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck up what is planted.
On October 7, 2018, our beautiful mother, sister, aunt, and beloved friend Emma Louise Waiters
Searles was called home. No words can begin to express the void in our lives and in the lives of all
of those she loved and who loved her. Her passing came after a 4 year battle with cancer, during
which she lived with great quality and joyful spirit. She truly delighted in the joy of life – in her
daily travels to run her errands, in the daily talks with her daughter, the hugs and kisses of her
grandchildren and in the long telephone conversations with her sisters and friends. Emma loved her
home, her flower and vegetable garden, her collection of tea pots from all over the world and her
relationship with God. Her house was filled with warmth and laughter, good people, and great food.
Sunday dinners will never be the same.
My beloved mother was born on September 12, 1947 to George and Queen Waiters in Sumter, South
Carolina. She was their 7th child of eight and 6 th daughter of 7. She is survived by her husband
Johnny, her daughter Katrina Waiters Smith (Vernon), her grandchildren Miles and Emma and three
sisters, Sarah Mae Dozier (Marvin), Virginia Simmons and Brenda Bethune (John Henry). She is
also survived by a host of nieces and nephews three generations deep and wonderful sister friends.
My mother loved adventure and travel, seeing new places and meeting different people. Her travels
ultimately landed her in Newark, NJ, the city she embraced, loved, defended and would call home for
the rest of her life.
Mommy’s accomplishments were many, though she never boasted. She became the very first
college graduate in our family and committed her entire professional career, 40 years with Newark
Public Schools, to teaching young people and ensuring that they understood the importance of
education. She also stressed education at home to ensure that her daughter and grandchildren would
be educated, independent and free to choose the life they dreamed of.
As you remember Emma Louise Waiters Searles, I ask that you honor her in your commitment to
loyalty, integrity, generosity and unconditional love. Honor her in your daily interactions with your
loved ones as you show with your actions that you appreciate them, never taking for granted that
tomorrow will come. Shower a child with books and toys and poems and praise so they hold their
head high and know that they can proudly face the world. Plant a garden or cook a great meal for
friends and family. Mommy did all of these things with genuine love.
Mommy, I will think of you constantly, honor you and your legacy always and miss you forever.