KILMARNOCK—Audrey Covington Sears, nee Gumm, loving wife and dear mother, died Friday, May 1, 2020 in her home in Kilmarnock, at the age of 86.
She was born October 21, 1933 to Harry Moore Gumm and Eloise Hatchell Gumm in Portsmouth.
She was the devoted wife of Gary Lee Sears for 49 years since their marriage on October 29, 1955, until his death December 14, 2004. Together they had three sons, Gary Michael Sears, David Covington Sears and John Bradford Sears.
As the mother of three boys she was the center of gravity for the family, and a source of love and caring. She was a devoted member of Campbell Memorial Presbyterian Church in Weems, and was active in church her whole life, inculcating her strong faith into her children.
A smart and accomplished woman, she was valedictorian of her class at Averett University (then College). A lifelong avid athlete and competitor, she was a Doubles National Champion in duckpin bowling in 1949, at the age of 16. She took up tennis at age 40 and was a member of a Women’s National Champion team in 1991, at the age of 58. She remained a constant competitor on the courts at Indian Creek Country Club into her 80s.
She could talk college basketball cogently with her sons at 86, added and canceled HBO each year just to watch Wimbledon, and enjoyed playing games with family, especially ones that brought laughter. She was highly principled and not above winning at Candyland because grandchildren needed to learn fairness and “life lessons” from an early age.
She cherished the company of her friends but was fiercely independent; she lived alone her last 16 years but was never lonely. She enjoyed eating well, having a margarita, and playing bridge, always letting her family know when she won.
Her most proud accomplishments though were as a wife, mother and grandmother, and her favorite title was Nana. She was known as Nana by seven grandchildren, two of which were named Audrey in her honor, and all of whom she was enormously proud.
She was known for her outgoing personality, her sense of humor and her thoughtfulness. She was an avid cook and baker, especially of anything that could be made better with another stick of butter. She often took food to friends, kept track of their favorites and made sure it was on hand when they would visit.
She took her relationships seriously and herself lightly. She demonstrated a great ability to laugh at herself, especially when she could share that chuckle with others, and taught her sons, and grandchildren to do the same. She will be greatly missed, but her family is certain she is rejoicing with the Lord in heaven, and she is once again with the love of her life, her husband, Gary.
She is survived by her oldest son, G. Michael Sears, his wife, Jill, and their three children, Emily, Audrey, and Will; her middle son, David C. Sears, his wife, Donna, and their son, Ryan; and her youngest son, John B. Sears, his wife, Megan, and his two children Audrey-Claire, Robert, and their son Jack.
Due to the current pandemic, services are being postponed until her faith and her life can be celebrated in person, more information will follow.
The family would offer that anyone who wishes to honor her memory consider having a good laugh and smile remembering her, raise a frozen margarita or glass of wine in a toast, and consider a donation to the American Heart Association at heart.org.
Currie Funeral Home LLC of Kilmarnock handled the arrangements.