Alleta Marie Searl (nee Webb)
November 1, 1924 – July 20, 2020
On July 20, at age 95, Alleta went home to God and to the waiting arms of her beloved husband Ted and loving son Teddy. She died peacefully at her memory care group home from complications from a stroke. She loved life, she loved people and most of all she loved her family. Although Ted preceded her in death by 23 years, and she missed him every single day, she found the strength and spirit to live life to the fullest. This precious woman enriched the lives of everyone that knew her. Her genuine interest in people, her positive personality and her deep humanity made her a truly unique human being.
Alleta Marie was born November 1, 1924, in McFall, Missouri to Hobert and Lucile May Webb. She was born a twin, but her sister Allena did not survive infancy. Alleta was the oldest of five children and grew up helping to work the family farm near Bethany. She graduated from Bethany High School (and attended her 40th reunion in 1982). After graduation, she went to Kansas City where she worked at TWA Airlines. It was in Kansas City where she met her husband Theodore (Ted) Thomas Searl, a Signal Corp lieutenant in the US Army. They were married in Kansas City on June 29, 1943. The couple’s first child Maraleta (Bunny) was born while Ted was on Iwo Jima. After an honorable discharge in 1947, the couple and their daughter were headed (in their 1938 Hudson Terraplane) to a job awaiting in California. However, they stopped enroute in Campo, CO to visit his parents. Broomcorn cutting was starting, so Ted was urged to stay and help. A ten-year stay in Campo began, during which time two more children, Theordore Jr (Teddy) and Marjorie Lane (Margie) were born. Alleta wanted her children to be in 4-H but there was no local 4-H Club, so she and Ted started the Campo Trailblazers 4-H Club in 1953, volunteering to be the Club’s leaders. This led to her 25-year career as a volunteer 4-H leader! She and Ted also started a square dance club in Campo, called the Circle C Square Dancers, where he called the dances and Alleta would teach the other wives how to square dance. Using her treadle Singer sewing machine, she emblazoned all the dancers’ shirts with the Circle C emblem.
In 1957, the family moved to Lamar, CO where Ted worked as the advertising director for the Lamar Daily News. For many years, especially during the busy holiday season, she helped Ted sell ads to Lamar retailers. She also helped him manage their Lamar rental properties and often regaled the family with her “landlord stories.” She worked short stints at various jobs, including Mountain States T&T (teaching how to use a dial telephone;) Gallop Poll and the Bureau of Census (enumerator;) Plateau Natural Gas (Measurement Dept.;) Lee Randle Flower Shop (part-time flower arranger;) Prowers County Welfare Department (EOA Homemaker;) and Aspen Skiwear (Sewing machine operator). Alleta was a member of the Lamar Christian Church, being active in their quilting group. In 1996 she purchased her first, and only, new car, a Ford Crown Victoria. She drove that car everywhere until age 91 when she voluntarily gave up her driver’s license (even though she had passed her most recent drivers license exam.)
In 2001, nearly ten years after her husband’s death, Alleta moved from Lamar to Colorado Springs into the Village at Skyline senior residence. There, she continued her many volunteer efforts: decorating the residents’ wing bulletin board each month, singing in Village Voices, participating in craft groups, teaching others how to make necklaces from oven-dried potato chunks, spreading the fun of table games such as Mexican Dominoes and Marbles and offering her sewing/mending services and craft talents to other residents.
She was happiest when her whole family was together. While residing at the Village at Skyline in Colorado Springs, she welcomed her 90th birthday in the presence of the entire Webb clan including two siblings, two children, two grandchildren, 1 greatgrandchild, several nieces and nephews, all of whom gathered from near and far along with many friends and associates to celebrate this glorious event. She was preceded in death by her parents, Hobert and Lucile (nee Hefley) Webb of Bethany, MO; her siblings Anna Leigh Webb and Erman Webb, and her son Theodore T. Searl, Jr.
Alleta sought out the best in everyone, treating everyone equally, always with genuine interest, respect and kindness. Through her lifetime of volunteer efforts, Alleta has made a difference and touched the lives of so many people. She will live on in many hearts and memories. Whether teaching migrant mothers the basics of homemaking as an EOA Homemaker, or delivering Meals on Wheels to address hunger and isolation, or welcoming newcomers as a member of Lamar’s “Hi Neighbor” Club, or welcoming travelers as a greeter at the Colorado Welcome Center, she displayed compassion, patience and understanding to all she encountered. In 1999, she earned her 4000-hour volunteer pin at the Welcome Center. In 1983, she received the Homemaker North Star award from the Colorado Home Demonstration Club, a cherished award given for a person’s long involvement and many accomplishments as a local club member. In 2010, she was acknowledged by the Colorado Home Extension for her 50 years of service, which included serving as local president for four years, District Secretary for two years, and organizing the annual club booth at the county fair. She was also active in the Democratic party and various “get out the vote” campaigns.
Alleta loved her flowers. Lamar natives will remember her yard at her home on the corner of Third and Elm, bursting every summer with a riot of colors and blossoms as she lovingly tended her gardens. For many years, she served as the Superintendent of Horticulture at the Prowers County Sand and Sage County Fair.
Her journey is now complete, and she rests in everlasting peace. Alleta will be forever remembered by, and remain in the hearts of, her children Maraleta Searl Swenson of Milwaukee WI, Marjorie (Don) Searl Motzer of Farmington NM; her grandchildren Christy Akers Martinez and Shaun Lawson and their families; her brother Donald (Marion) Webb of Upland, IN and family; and her sister Jean (Jerry) Roland of Springfield, MO and their family; her friends and associates in Baca and Prowers Counties and at the Colorado Springs Brookdale Village at Skyline.
Alleta’s family would like to express their gratitude for the care, love and support from her doctor, Julie Halling, the wonderful staff at Life Quality Homes and the caring staff at Suncrest Hospice. A memorial gathering was held at the Chapel of Memories in Colorado Springs on July 27 following cremation. Condolences can be mailed to the family in care of Maraleta Swenson, PO Box 511532, Milwaukee WI 53203.