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Lansing United Methodist Church
Friday September 20th, 2019
4:00pm - 7:00pm

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Memorial Service

Lansing United Methodist Church
Saturday September 21st, 2019

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Mary E. Searles

Mary E. Searles (nee Pforter) received her wings and flew home into the loving arms of God on Sunday, August 4, 2019.  She was born September 26, 1932, to Martin O. and Nellie A. Pforter. She married the love of her life, William “Bill” Searles on January 26, 1952.  They were married for over 30 years until his death.

At the age of 50, Mary went back to school and received her Associate’s Degree and was a home health aide for Family and Children’s Services for over 20 years.  She played many roles, not only as a farmer’s wife, mother, and home health aide, but she was involved with 4-H, North Lansing Fireman’s Women Auxiliary, Clown persona for the Lansing United Methodist Church youth, Director of the Lansing Food Pantry in 1994, and Activity Leader for the Oak Hill Nursing Home.  In 2007, Mary received the Distinguished Community Service Award from the Ithaca Cayuga Rotary Club.  She was a caring and loving wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.

She was preceded by her parents, husband Bill, brother William Pforter, and eldest child and only son David.  She is survived by her daughters, Jean Thorn of Reno, NV, and Frances (William) Sampson of Lansing, NY; and daughter-of-love, Nancy Searles of Moravia, NY.  She also leaves behind six grandchildren and thirteen great-grandchildren:  Michelle (Matt) VanEtten and children, Mariah and Mason, of Groton, NY; Alan (Kathleen) Searles and daughter, Nora, of Charleston, WV; Michael (Eileen) Wolfe and children, Emily, Augustus and Grace, of Ashaway, RI; Stephen Wolfe and son, Brennen, of Reno, NV; William (Michelle) Sampson and children, Willy, Isabelle, Sophia and Olivia, of Le Sueur, MN; Stephanie Sampson-Magill (Maria) and children, Jackson and Katherine, of Lansing, NY.  Additionally, she is survived by an extended family and neighborhood children (young and old).

Calling hours will be held from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Friday, September 20, 2019, at Lansing United Methodist Church, 32 Brickyard Road, Lansing, NY 14882.  A memorial service will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 21, 2019, at the church with a reception to follow.

Please consider memorial contributions in Mary’s name to Hospicare at 172 East King Road, Ithaca, NY 14850, or Lansing United Methodist Church at the address above, or to the Lansing Food Pantry at 32 Brickyard Road, Lansing, NY 14882.

To plant memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Mary Searles, please visit our flower store.


Mary was truly a GIFT to all those whose life she touched! Her compassion, her pleasant personality, her positive and encouraging attitude and her selflessness were OUTSTANDING QUALITIES she blessed other with. My Mom entered Eternal Life in 2004 and Mary was such a consoling presence. The true test of a person's worth is how graciously they accept the trials, the sufferings and the losses in life - Mary's life was EXEMPLARY! In visiting Mary at the Groton Nursing Home I ALWAYS left enriched and in awe of her inner beauty. May Mary's spirit live on in us to shed and spread the light of goodness, generosity, graciousness, selflessness and humor.. May God enfold you forever in His love, precious Mary!

Mary Lou Bailey Aug 20 2019 12:00 AM

I met Mary Searles when I moved to Lansing and became secretary in the Lansing United Methodist Church. I didn't know anyone in Lansing but Mary made me feel welcome. Mary was the head of the food pantry in those days, which was then housed in the church's fellowship hall. It always amazed me how much energy Mary had, how much fun she was, how compassionate she was to the people who came to the food pantry. She was still doing home health aide work but, when I needed a volunteer at the church, she was always there. In fact, she seemed to be everywhere, always helping people, even as older age slowed her down. She always had a smile on her face, always a kind word for everyone. Years later I'd see her at the hair salon or at Molino Physical Therapy. Again, she was like a bright star lighting up everybody's lives. Her smile, wit and loving nature were her calling cards. But I saved the best for last. Mary was an extraordinarily intelligent person. Her wisdom, her curiosity for learning about new things while not forgetting the old, her being able to size up a situation and act on it, those are the things I will remember most about Mary. In the legal field, where I used to work, when someone was extraordinarily bright, people would say something like, "She has a mind like a steel trap.", a high compliment indeed. Well, Mary was fun, witty, loving and generally great. Last but not least, her mind was like a steel trap.

Betty Hegarty Aug 16 2019 12:00 AM

So sorry to hear about Marys passing. Thoughts and prayers to you all. She has touched many lives including mine alone with having the same birthday. She will always be remembered
Mary (Selby) Seymour

Mary Seymour Aug 7 2019 12:00 AM

I met Mary back in the late nineties. Mary was a respite Aide on a private duty Homecare Nursing job I worked on. She was so loving, caring, thoughtful, and knowledgeable. She was so fun to be with. It was always fun to run into her and catch up on the latest.
Mary gave so.much to everyone.
God Bless Marys.family.

Alan F Meade Aug 6 2019 12:00 AM

Very sad to hear of Mary passing. I knew her not only through my mom's family that grew up next door to her, but also later on as we both spent many years selling Avon together. I loved sitting with Mary at our meetings and parties and hearing stories of my mom and her siblings growing up in the neighborhood. Mary was kind and compassionate and always had time to listen. She was a wonderful person and will be missed.

Andrea Sherwood Aug 5 2019 12:00 AM

Loving Mary was so easy. She wanted the best for everyone and was always willing to offer a listening ear or kind words. She took my mother, my children and myself under her wing and treated us as a family. When I found out we shared the same birthday, she started calling me her little twin. My children, especially my special needs daughter, couldn't get enough time with her. My daughter would bring books to read to her and Mary would listen to every word. The only time Mary would ever get upset with me is if I waited too long between visits with the children.
Taking care of Mary wasn't a job for me, it was an honor.
Sending our love and prayers of comfort to your family during this difficult time. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful woman with the rest of us.

Katelyn Aug 5 2019 12:00 AM

I was blessed and privileged to have the honor of taking care of Mary. I was her person and she was mine. Seeing her smile would make my whole day. She was always kind and helpful. She would always ask how my Mother was doing. She always was willing to help someone else. I will never forget her. She was not only my resident, she was my friend.

Sue Chaltain Aug 5 2019 12:00 AM

Jean and Family,
We are so sorry to hear of your Mom's passing. She was a very dear friend of our family. Please know that we ask God to give you and your family strength and peace.

Barb (Beckwith) Woolever and husband, Stan Aug 4 2019 12:00 AM

Jean and Fran,

My heart is aching tonight as I hear the news of your mom passing. We all lived next to each other for a life time. When we were kids there were always fried bologna sandwiches, cake or spaghetti on hand. Every night kickball in the driveway with your mom or dad pitching to us. Nights of in season football with Francis and Vern Gatewood. We truly had a great childhood and your mom was a very integral part of it. As I grew older and really never left home I would walk past your farm and still hear the shouts of us kids as we had great times. I still see the shadows of our playful years with your mom closely watching over us. And she still will.

Al Chaffee Aug 4 2019 12:00 AM