Richard Dudley Sears III is remembered as a gentleman by those who knew him.
Sears passed away Nov. 18 in Aiken. He was 86.
Sears grew up in Boston and graduated from Harvard and the University of Virginia Law School after service in the Navy. He worked for several law firms in Boston with a specialty of Admiralty Law.
An avid golfer, he was a contestant in state amateur championships in Massachusetts, Virginia and South Carolina.
He played at The Palmetto Club, where he served as an officer and was also a dedicated player in court tennis. In fact, his grandfather was the first American National Tennis Champion.
Sears served as president of the Tennis and Racquet Club in Boston and as a vice president of the U.S. National Tennis Association.
His friend Wendy Dietzel would care for Sears’ dogs when he traveled out of town and out of the country to play golf or tennis.
Dietzel said Sears visited and played in 14 of the 30-odd court tennis facilities in England.
He was an avid sports person, but he tended to downplay his talent, she said.
“I guess you could call him a gentleman. He was quiet but a gentleman,” said friend Skipper Perry. “I never heard one word of braggadocio out of him.”
Sears was a benefactor to Aiken Preparatory School, and he and his wife Polly were lovers of animals, holding fundraisers for the SPCA.
The Searses raised and showed basset hounds, and Sears continued to own bassets throughout his life.
“I’ll never forget the time ... every once in a while the basset hounds would get out and we’d all send emails telling people to keep an eye out,” said Barbara Nelson, president of the board for the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare.
Aiken Mayor Fred Cavanaugh thought very highly of Sears.
“He was always so friendly and knew everybody by name. He was obviously a wonderful citizen of Massachusetts and of Aiken,” Cavanaugh said.
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