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International Academy of Astronautics (IAA). He also served on many federal advisory boards, councils, and committees and was a consultant to the aeronautical industry. He was the author of more than 100 articles published in refereed journals.

His son, David wrote that “in 1993, Bill published his memoirs: “Stories From a 20th Century Life” (Parabolic Press). A careful reading of this interesting volume reveals no unkind words about any of the persons he worked with over his long career; this was Bill’s way of doing business, always upbeat and positive.”

He also remembers his father as a wonderful storyteller with a terrific sense of humor, evidenced in this short excerpt from his father’s memoirs:

Having arrived in Pasadena, I met my classmate Thurm Erickson, who drove me to the Caltech campus on California Street; I located the Guggenheim Laboratory of Aeronautics, opened its big copper front door, climbed the narrow stairs to the second floor, and presented myself to the young lady in the little office at the top of the stairs as a new graduate student. She was Miss Mabel Jeanette Rhodes, the department’s secretary. We looked into one another’s eyes, we gasped, bells rang, and the Guggenheim building trembled! Well, not exactly. That is what should have happened.

Bill is survived by his daughter, Susan Sears, of Indianapolis and son, David Sears, of Bethesda, Maryland; and grandchildren Colin and Shelby Sears, of Portland, Oregon. His wife, Mable died in 2004. He also leaves many friends, colleagues, and former students, whose lives he touched and enriched. William Rees Sears cast a bright, stimulating, and cheerful light on countless people around the world, and he will be sorely missed.

With thanks to Dr. Frank Marble, from whom part of this tribute were excerpted.



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