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William John Sears

william sears
Beloved husband, father and grandfather William John Sears, Col, USAF (ret) passed away on 30Sept07 after a lengthy battle with Esophageal Cancer. Bill was born in Oskaloosa, Iowa 13 April 1931.He is survived by his beloved wife of 54 years, Orpha Mae Fisk Sears, four children Michael F. Sears, Cheryl A. Berude, John L Sears and Patricia Lynn Atherton, ten grandchildren, three brothers and one sister. Predeceased by two brothers and one sister. Colonel Sears received his B.S. from Iowa State University and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Medical Physiology from the University Of Southern California. During his military career he was primarily assigned in a research/management capacity at the School of Aerospace Medicine, Brooks, AFB. He was instrumental in starting and was the first to volunteer for the Exchange Officer program with the Royal Air Force Institute of Aviation Medicine in England. Following retirement from the Air Force he became Director of Bioengineering at the Southwest Research, Senior Research Scientist at Technology Inc and subsequently for twenty two years President of Aerospace Associates Inc. Dr. Sears was an internationally recognized authority in the field of Aerospace Physiology and the Human Factors aspects of Aircrew and Ground Life Support Systems. He was directly involved in the management of Test Facilities to validate hazard spacecraft atmospheres in the Manned Orbital Laboratory and other studies exposing man and animals To high levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide as well as defining oxygen requirements for future aircraft. He managed hypobaric, hyperbaric And thermal test chambers to establish life support and environmental requirements for USAF missions. He consulted with NASA on fire suppression systems, pressure suits, EVA activities and the challenger accident. He was directly involved with the development of chemical defense and high altitude protective equipment and procedures for aircrew and medical personnel with two inventions for chemical defense equipment. He served for 10 years as Vice President and President of the board for the Randolph Brooks Federal Credit Union. He Authored/Co-Authored Over 50 publications on a variety of life support and chemical defense equipment and procedures. Following retirement, as President of Aerospace Associates, he acted as consultant to over 30 Companies involved in new aircraft and life support programs to include the B2, F-23, Future Compact Fighter, High Altitude Reconnaisance Aircraft, Advanced Pressure Suits, Navy Advanced Tactical Crew Systems, Newer Aircrew oxygen and chemical defence masks as well as authoring articles for specific military contracts. He was presented with several Military Awards to include the Meritorious Service Award with Oak Leaf Cluster and The Legion of Merit. He was elected Fellow of The Aerospace Medical Association, presented the Fred Hitchcock Award For Excellence In Aerospace Physiology; the Annual SAFE Award For Career Achievement, received a First Place Science and monetary award From The Air Force Association and was military consultant in Aerospace Physiology to USAF Surgeon General. A private ceremony will be held to honor him at Ft. Sam Houston Cemetery.

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Memories Timeline


  1. Bill was one of my dearest military friends. His contributions to the Air Force mission were enormous, whereby, they will continue to contribute to the safety of its aircrew personnel. Bill will be sorely missed by all whose lives he touched.

  2. We are saddend to hear of Dr. Sears passing. We only had the pleasure of taking care of Dr. Sears for a short time. We hope we had as much impact on his life as he had on ours. Our hearts go out to his wife and family. Thank You for letting us be there for him and you. Kristie Jones,LVN Janie Santos,RN & Meridian HCS

  3. With prayers and tears, we are saddend by the loss of the love and wonderful mind of Bill. He was the best of the best, a friend and precious to many of us for a long time. The scientist, humanitarian and wonderful brother in arms will be missed by us and many others. God Bless the Sears Family. Our Deepest Sympathy, Don and Ann

  4. Our deepest sympathy to you & your family. We saw you that afternoon at the Towers. Jo & Wayne Robinson

  5. I had the pleasure of working with Bill on a number of projects over the years at Brooks. His contributions to the AF can not be overstated. My sincere condolences to the family. Dave Rickenbach

  6. Colonel/Doctor Sears was a unique and extraordinary man. From Iowa Golden Gloves heavyweight boxing champion to world-class USAF Aerospace Physiologist, his grace with people, strength of character, genius, and brilliant technical accomplishments were respected by everyone who had the privilege of working with him.

  7. Enjoyed playing bridge against Bill as he always had a positive outlook. What a terrific “BIO” but he would never tell you.

  8. Our deepest sympathy goes out to the Sears family at this time. Bill was pioneer in Aerospace Physiology and a true friend over many years. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you.

  9. I would like to express my condolances to the entire Sears family. Col. Sears was truly one of the very best. All of us that he touched will miss his easy sense of humor, his quick smile, and generosity that knew no bounds.

  10. Bill had class,strength of character,and exceptional scientific skills. He was highly respected by his professional peers and friends. It was a priviledge to have known and worked with him. He was one of my very best friends. I will miss him. My deepest sympathy to you and your family. Mike Parkhurst

  11. I have fond memories of our many years of work together. I will truly miss a valued friend and colleague.

  12. No words can express the depth of our sorrow for the loss of your husband, father and grandfather. But of one thing we are certain: He is especially proud of you. Our friend and mentor had many scientific and personal accomplishments, but he always thought that it was his family that made his life worthwhile.

  13. No words can express the depth of our sorrow for the loss of your husband, father and grandfather. But of one thing we are certain: He is especially proud of you. Our friend and mentor had many scientific and personal accomplishments, but he always thought that it was his family that made his life worthwhile.

  14. Bill was a wonderful man and it was a privilege to have known him. Special people like Bill do not pass thru life often. If the duties of the AF had not moved so many people far apart or the computer had come along a little sooner, you would be inundated with memories and praise for Bill. As it is we were lucky to even hear Bill was gone, so we could tell you what a super guy he was.

  15. My thoughts and prayers are with your family during this time. Bill was a great man and a very good friend. We will all miss him. May God Bless you a lift you up during this time.

  16. We send our heartfelt condolences on you great loss to Orfa and the family. I have the fondest memories of the welcome and support which Bill gave us during my sabbatical at USAF SAM (1979-80). Bill was indeed an excellent Exchange Officer at RAF IAM. He contributed much to our research programmes and lives. I consider it a great privilege to have had Bill as a colleague and friend. I and his other professional colleagues in the UK wiil greatly miss his friendship and wise counsel.

  17. Our very late night discussion and his advice on the B-2 oxygen and life support system was invaluable and set the basis for many weapon systems to come in the future and the respect he earned from us all on the B-2 program was truely heart felt! God’s speed my friend! tom

  18. Colonel Bill Sears was a wonderful U.S. Air Force leader, a superb aerospace physiologist, and a mentor to many. A man of integrity and and knowledge second to none. His contributions spanned science, medicine, and goodwill. Many will miss him dearly and I will be among them. Thanks to his wonderful life and the privilege I had to be his friend. The world was truly a better place because he walked among us. Thank you Colonel (Dr.) Bill Sears you are a giant in my eyes. James E. Whinnery Major General USAF MC CFS (Retired)

  19. A wonderful teacher, friend, and colleague during my USAF and USN days. World-recognized for his contributions to aviation medicine. Will be missed very much. Hugs

  20. I well remember Bill as a friend and fellow PTO of many years. Several of us were alumini of USC, Bob Krutz, Paul Sheffield, Tom Daniel, and others. Good friends. Good memories. Sorry for the late response, I just learned yesterday of Bill’s departure.

  21. Dear family of Bill Sears. I just found out from a mutual friend that Bill had passed away. You have my sincere condolences. I worked with Bill at Brooks AFB when he was a consultant to EASI Inc. As a fellow Iowan (Quad Cities) and a University of Iowa Grad, we shared a bond. I was a little surprised when he made the following comment (the AF was having contractual difficulties with EASI), he from Iowa and will not accept your explanation nor approve of the recommended fix! Appears he was right. It is always sad knowing a good person is no longer with us. In God we Trust!

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