Joretta A Sears

Joretta Anna Sears went peacefully to heaven on June 5, 2024. Her children were at her side. She was born on June 30, 1931, to Emmett and Lena (Chappell) Kelly in Fortville, Indiana. Joretta grew up in Fortville with her younger sister Rosalyn, doing all the typical Mid-West small town activities.

As kids they attended church, enjoyed family dinners, went to parades, walked to ballgames in the local park, listened to the latest tunes on the juke box while enjoying treats at the soda fountain, spent their earnings from chores at the movie theater and the Five and Dime.

Joretta graduated from Fortville High School in 1949 where she played clarinet in the band with Charlotte Durack, who became her sister-in-law in 1953 when Charlotte married Ralph Sears. Her best friend all through childhood and into adulthood was Nancy (Duzan) Crickmore Shaw. After graduation, Joretta went to keypunch school at IBM in Indianapolis and then worked at Stokely Van Camp.

Here in Joretta’s own words, written for their 50th wedding anniversary celebration, is how she met the love of her life, James Pressley Sears, Jr.:

“Jim and I met about the end of June, 1946. He had come to Fortville to work for his dad. I was born and raised in Fortville, Indiana. He had just graduated from Ladoga High School. He boarded with a family who had two sons. The older son, Tom, was dating my friend Nancy. The other son, Joe, was in my class at school. They saw my friend Juene and I on our way to the movie. Jim asked Joe to get him a date with Juene. Joe instead asked me if I would go out with Jim. I said okay and so we went to the movie the day before I turned 15. We are still going out!”

Jim and Joretta were married on August 12, 1950. Jim served a stint in the army before they married and while honeymooning in Florida was called back to the army and sent to Korea. Joretta lived with her parents then and their first child was born in August, 1951. Jim returned from the Korean War in October. In 1957, Jim and Joretta decided to move to Orlando, Florida with their two young daughters and newborn son. They lived in Pine Castle the first 6 years and then in the Dover Shores neighborhood since 1963. She retired from Bergen Brunswig Corporation after 36 years in 1996.

Joretta and Jim traveled in their late fifties and during retirement. They visited all forty-eight contiguous states on motorcycle trips. Joretta in her eighties, achieved her goal of visiting all 50 states.

Joretta was an avid, true Hoosier basketball fan, rooting for the Indiana Pacers, the Boston Celtics, and especially Larry Bird. She was a prolific reader, finishing at least a book a week for many of her retirement years. She also enjoyed many genres of music. Other interests included sewing and attending to her houseplants. She and Jim enjoyed hosting all the family holiday get-togethers and birthday celebrations.

Joretta was preceded in death by her parents Emmett in 1970 and Lena in 1995, her sister Rosalyn in 2007, her husband of 60 years Jim in 2011, and her grandson Jason in 2002. She is survived by her children Teresa (Terry) Pass, Cynthia (Cindy) Richards, James (Jim) Sears, Julia (Judy) Brown, and John Sears; 7 grandchildren, 3 step grandchildren, 4 great grandchildren, and 4 step great grandchildren, her brother-in-law Ralph, sister-in-law Charlotte, 5 nieces, and 3 nephews.

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