The Ministries and Faith Development staff offer our condolences to the family and colleagues of the Rev. Edward “Ed” Searl, who died on July 28, 2019, at the age of 71.
Ed was born on November 15, 1947, in Chester, PA, to Clinton N. Searl and Mary W. Searl. He graduated from the University of Delaware in 1969, with a Bachelor of Arts in history, following which he started his graduate school at the University of Vermont in 1969. In 1970, he emigrated to Canada before finishing his graduate degree. Later in 1973, Ed received his Bachelor of Theology from McGill University, QC, Canada.
Rev. Searl was welcomed into Preliminary Fellowship on April 25, 1977, and ordained on November 8, 1977, by The First Unitarian Church, Youngstown, OH. He carried out his first ministry at the Youngstown congregation from 1977 until 1983. He then fulfilled his Parish Ministry for nearly three decades at the Unitarian Church of Hinsdale, IL (1983-2012). In 2012, the Hinsdale church honored him as their minister emeritus.
In addition to his ministry, Rev. Searl performed services to the denomination as a ministerial representative for the Commission Lay Leadership Program, Ohio Meadville District in 1979; and as a Secretary and Treasurer for the Ohio Meadville District Professional Religious Leaders in 1979.
Outside his denominational work, Ed belonged to several community organizations. He was Vice-President for the Mahoning County Mental Health Association, Inc. in 1977; trustee for the Mahoning County Transitional Homes, Inc. in 1978; and corresponding secretary for the Planned Parenthood of Mahoning County in 1979. Likewise, he served as a member for Commission on Human Need and for the Mahoning Valley Association of Churches; and as chair for the Juvenile Justice Team.
Ed loved writing, exploring cities and backroads, traveling, sports, and history. His first book, In Memoriam: Modern Funeral and Memorial Service was published in 1993, and the second edition in 2000. His other published writings include Shipwreck in the Mountains (1975), Beggar’s Bouquet (1979), and A Place of Your Own (1998). Ed also edited a five-book collection: Bless This Child, Coming of Age, We Pledge Our Hearts, Beyond Absence, and In Praise of Animals. He self-published several books, including If Only for the Season (2011) and Around the Delaware Arc: 101 People Places and Lore (2013).
Ed is survived by his wife of 51 years, Ellie Searl; his daughter Katie Bodnar; his brother Clint Searl; and his two grandchildren Brett and Bridget Bodnar. He was predeceased by his parents, Clinton and Mary Walter Searl.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Edward Searl Memorial Fund at the Unitarian Church of Hinsdale, 11 West Maple Avenue St., Hinsdale, IL 60521.
A memorial service was held at 2 pm on Saturday, September 21, 2019, at the Unitarian Church of Hinsdale, 11 West Maple Avenue, Hinsdale, IL 60521.
Notes of condolences may be sent to Ellie Searl at 7300 Johnson Farm Lane, Apt. 102, Chadds Ford, PA 19317.
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