John Sears: A Man Of Honor

JANUARY 2004
- A recent article in the Boston Globe mentioned that a venerable
political figure in Boston was struck by a taxicab in front of St.
Paul's Church on Tremont St. It went on to say that because of it, he
had reinjured an old knee ailment that he incurred 25 years ago, while
coming to the aid of a young lady named Julia who was being mugged in
the Park Street Station.

The
"venerable political figure" is none other than longtime Association
member John Sears, one of the most highly respected residents of Beacon
Hill.

When reminded about his
confrontation with a mugger, John modestly acknowledged that it did
happen and that he "was much younger and in better shape than he is
now."

Except for several stints in
the Navy, and work assignments for a New York Bank (Brown Brothers) and
several years in England, John has spent most of his life in Boston,
and particularly on Acorn Street in the shadow of the State House.

A
graduate of Harvard and Harvard Law School, as well as a Rhodes Scholar
at Oxford, John has enjoyed one of the most distinguished careers
available to any public figure.

He
served aboard a destroyer during the Korean War and was recalled in
1960 to command another destroyer and was discharged as a Lt. Commander
in 1962.

He worked on two different
occasions, both on Wall St. and in Boston with Brown Bros. for a total
of four years. "Wall Street was a great experience, but my heart was
always in Boston," said Sears.

In
1964, John was elected to the Mass. House of Representatives and served
until 1968, at which time Governor Volpe appointed him Sheriff of
Suffolk County.

Although a
Republican, he ran a very close race, in a heavily Democratic county,
but was defeated by Tom Eisenstadt in the next election.

Governor Volpe then appointed him Chairman of the Boston Finance Commission.

In
1970, Governor Frank Sargent appointed him Commissioner of the MDC and
he served in that capacity until 1975. "We have a great park system in
Boston and Greater Boston. The MDC has played a major role in
maintaining this system," he pointed out.

In
1975, Sears' peers elected him chairman of the Republican State
Committee. In 1976, he served as the state chairman of the Gerry Ford
for President campaign committee.

Later
he was elected as chairman of the South End Settlement House. In 1978,
he was the Republican nominee for Secretary of State but was defeated
by Mike Connolly. In 1979, he was elected at-large to the Boston City
Council.

In 1982, he ran for
governor. He defeated Andy Card (now President George Bush's top aide)
and John Lakian in the Republican primary but was defeated by Mike
Dukakis.

"I thought I was going to be running against Ed King, but he was defeated by Mike in the Democratic Primary," he said.

Sears
had nothing but praise for his political opponents. "Tom Eisenstadt,
Mike Dukakis and Mike Connolly all ran clean, issue-oriented
campaigns... There were no personal attacks," he said. "And Andy, a
fine young man, whom I defeated in the '82 Republican primary, hasn't
done too badly, has he."

Former
Secretary of State Mike Connolly, also a Bostonian (Roslindale), was
asked about his 1978 opponent. "John Sears was a very knowledgeable
candidate. He kept the race on a high plain... there was never any
personal animosity. I'd describe John as a man of honor," said
Connolly, who is also one of our members.

Although
John is limping a bit these days as he winds his way around downtown
Boston, at age 73, he cuts quite an imposing figure at a husky six
feet, four inches. And we're betting that he'd give it his all once
again if he saw someone in distress.

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