Richard Jesse “Jess” Searles, Jr. thumbnail

Richard Jesse "Jess" Searles, Jr.

Died: March 17, 2020

Richard Jesse “Jess” Searles, Jr. passed away peacefully, surrounded by his loved ones on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, at 81 years of age. Born on September 9, 1938, he was a lifelong resident of Baton Rouge, LA. He was preceded in death by his parents, Richard Jesse Searles, Sr. and Eness Dearing Searles, of Baton Rouge, …read more

Richard Jesse “Jess” Searles, Jr. passed away peacefully, surrounded by his loved ones on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, at 81 years of age. Born on September 9, 1938, he was a lifelong resident of Baton Rouge, LA. He was preceded in death by his parents, Richard Jesse Searles, Sr. and Eness Dearing Searles, of Baton Rouge, LA, and his wife of 51 years, Deana Bowers Searles, of Fort Worth, Texas. He is survived by his son Richard “Rich” Dean Searles, and wife Isabel of Mountain Brook, Alabama; daughter Amy Beth Searles Karam and husband Hab; four grandchildren Benjamin Karam and his fiancé, Abby Sevier, Mary Kate Karam, Sarah Karam, and Daniel Karam, all of Baton Rouge, LA; brother, John Searles and his wife Melanie, of Baton Rouge, LA; and close friend, Linda Green of Baton Rouge, LA. Jess graduated from Louisiana State University with a degree in landscape architecture. Before proceeding with his career, he served in the United States Army for two years. The city of Baton Rouge benefited from his “green thumb” while he worked for many years on the Baton Rouge Green Project as a city planner before retirement. He was a devoted member of Broadmoor United Methodist Church, where he enjoyed fellowship with his friends in the Seekers Sunday School Class. Jess was a devoted member of numerous organizations and stayed busy with lots of hobbies and interests. Many of his beautiful paintings adorn the homes of family members and friends. His own home holds meticulously organized collections, representing countless hours of research and treasure hunting. Behind each collection is a fascinating story that he was always happy to share. One of his favorite collections includes his father’s complete Boy Scout uniform, including each original badge his father earned dating back to the 1920’s, when the BSA was a fledgling organization. Jess was Scoutmaster for Troop 37, chartered by Cedarcrest Baptist Church and Broadmoor United Methodist Church. In 1987, he was awarded the Silver Beaver Award from the Istrouma Area Council; he served in many District and Council Committees, including the Istrouma Area Council Executive Board and as Chairman of the Tunica District Eagle Scout Board of Review Committee. He cherished years spent as Scoutmaster alongside his son, Rich, especially their time shared at the 1981 BSA National Jamboree. Jess’ love of history was evidenced by his collections, including Civil War memorabilia and Searles Bowie Knives. He enjoyed sharing his passion with members of the Baton Rouge Civil War Round Table group and the Baton Rouge Pelican Relic and Recovery Association, serving as Past President to both organizations. He also served as 1st Vice President of the General Philemon Thomas Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution, where he most recently served as Board Member at Large. Jess was a Mason in good standing with the Milford #117 Lodge, serving as their Treasurer. During his college days at LSU, he was a member of the Beta Rho Chapter of Phi Gamma Delta, and later served as President of the Phi Gamma Delta House Corporation Board. Jess was a Baton Rouge High School graduate of the Class of 1956. Each year he has spearheaded class reunions for his lifelong Bulldog friends and made certain their upcoming reunion was left in good hands. The enduring friendships he made through his devotion to many organizations is a testament to the kind of man he was and the way his lived his daily life. He embraced the Boy Scout promise and lived his life by their principles, always doing his best to do his duty to God, his country, and helping other people at all times. In consideration of the current health situation in our community, friends who cannot attend the service are asked to join the Searles family in a moment of silence and prayer of thanksgiving. Pallbearers will be Rich Searles, Hab Karam, Benjamin Karam, Daniel Karam, Troy Searles, Wyatt Beck, Benton Searles and Norman F. Bacon, Jr. Honorary pallbearers will be his Brothers of the Beta Rho Chapter of Phi Gamma Delta and the Baton Rouge Masons. The family would like to especially thank DerMetrius McClure for her loving care, friendship and support. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his honor to the Milford #117 Lodge at 4944 Five Forks Drive, Baton Rouge, LA 70817.

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