A service of celebration for the life of Mrs. Sara Elizabeth Phillips Lear will be held at 4:00 PM Sunday, October 3, 2021 in the sanctuary Chesterfield Baptist Church by Pastor Randy Bishop. The family will greet friends from 3:00 – 4:00 PM Sunday prior to the service on the front lawn of Chesterfield Baptist Church and will resume immediately following the service. The service will be live-streamed on the Miller Rivers Caulder Funeral Home Facebook Page beginning at 3:30 PM.
Due to COVID-19 regulations, our staff is committed to taking care of our guests and families that we serve. We also ask all guests and family members attending visitations and services to please continue social distancing and face coverings are REQUIRED inside the sanctuary of Chesterfield Baptist Church.
Sara Elizabeth Phillips Lear was born on September 20, 1940, to Ray Vaughn Phillips and Sara Belle Redfearn Phillips. She died at home on September 29, 2021, from pulmonary fibrosis. Marines transported her mother by canoe to the hospital at Parris Island, SC during a hurricane to deliver her.
Her father was in the Navy, and she vaguely remembered living in Oklahoma and Columbia, SC. By the time she was in kindergarten they returned to Chesterfield to settle near family. As a child she pulled away from her father’s hand to run across the street to her grandmother’s house when she was hit by a truck. Suffering a concussion, she had to lie flat for weeks which she did not enjoy. She attended school in Chesterfield and graduated in 1958.
She was in love and did not plan on going to college but wanted to get married. Her husband to be was in the National Guard and sent to Georgia. At the last minute, she decided to go to Winthrop. After she started, Ray told her they could not get married until she graduated. This was a secret agreement he had made with her mother. She finished college in May of 1962 and got married that June. She and her husband, W. Ray Lear, spent 54 happy years together before he died in 2016.
She described her life as full of opportunities and adventures. She spent 31 years teaching in Cheraw, Chesterfield and Ruby schools during which time she obtained her master’s degree in education. She and her sister-in-law started “A Taste of Lear’s” catering service and provided refreshment for many weddings and other events. She was a bailiff for the sheriff’s office for two decades also. She ran her childhood homeplace as a B & B and enjoyed meeting people from near and far.
Sara was very active in the community and was so proud of her town of Chesterfield, SC. She helped start a ladies investment club, was a member of Delta Kappa Gamma, belonged to several bridge clubs and had recently taken up pinochle. She enjoyed crocheting with the Bended Knee Prayer Shawl group at Shiloh Methodist Church and Joy in the Morning Devotion Group at Hopewell Baptist Church. Mowing the grass and working in the yard were some of her favorite activities. She was an avid reader and enjoyed traveling. She loved attending the Wingate women’s basketball games and consignment shopping at the beach with her sister.
Sara was a faithful member of Chesterfield Baptist Church where she served as Sunday school teacher, choir director, pianist and deacon. The lifelong friends she had from church were very special to her. Her childhood friends, college roommates and those she taught and worked with were all so meaningful in her life.
Survivors include a daughter, Elizabeth “Libby” Lear-Walker and friend Boomer Odom, grandson Vaughn Lear-Walker, son-in-law Carroll Walker, a beloved sister, Mary Lou Hancock, an aunt, Mary Redfearn, and many nephews, nieces and cousins who were so loved.
Great appreciation goes to her niece, Carol Lear Gregory who cared for her Uncle Ray for many years and for her Aunt Sara for the last two years, her cousin Elaine Redfearn Benner who provided delicious meals and fun adventures along with numerous other close friends and family, and most recently Lessie Smith for care in the evenings. Kindred at Home and Regency SouthernCare Hospice were especially helpful and employed loving professionals who made such a difference for her this year. She considered herself blessed to have such good doctors-- Dr. John McLeod, Dr. Nancy Clavio, Dr. Greg Bebb and Dr. Thomas Distefano.
Contributions may be made to Chesterfield Cemetery Association, P.O. Box 388, Chesterfield, SC 29709, or a charity of your choice.
Her wish was that she left this wonderful world better than it was and she hopes that she made a difference. Her family and friends agree that she did, indeed, make a difference.
Miller-Rivers-Caulder Funeral Home (www.mrcfuneralhome.com) of Chesterfield, SC is serving the Lear family.