Recalling a Rutledge family member

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 17, 2006

Amid the smiles and the tears, Monday evening's Rutledge Town Council meeting was set aside to honor a man who was like a family member to the community, Mr. John Ensley Searight, affectionately known as &#8220Big John.”

&#8220We want to honor a man tonight who has been a part of our town family for the last 15 years,” Rutledge Mayor Joe Dexter Flynn said to the large gathering of family, friends and loved ones of Mr. Searight. &#8220There are no words to say what John has meant to this town and to me personally.”

Flynn said that &#8220Big John,” who was the Street Supervisor for the town of Rutledge, was a man whom &#8220we can pattern our lives after.”

&#8220He showed up for work every day ready to make Rutledge a better place,” the mayor said.

Flynn explained that Searight had a successful street cleaning and recycling program for the town.

&#8220I got to know him not just as an employee, but as a friend,” Flynn said.

Rita Brown, of the Rutledge Town Council, echoed the mayor's sentiments.

&#8220Mr. John was family,” she said. &#8220He was a well-respected and well-loved person, and we miss him. He always had a smile for you.”

Mr. Searight was born Jan. 30, 1938, and passed away Jan. 12, 2006. He was a lifelong resident of Crenshaw County. He and his wife, Delex Payne Searight, were married for 48 years and have three children and three grandchildren.

&#8220This has meant so much to us and to me personally,” Mrs. Searight said. &#8220John loved working for the city. They loved him, and he loved them, too.”

Mayor Flynn said that it was &#8220selfish” on the town's part to want &#8220Big John” back, but he knew &#8220he was in a better place.”

&#8220I truly believe that John was a Christian man,” he said. &#8220Even though we'll have to hire someone else, no one will ever fill his shoes. He could never be ‘replaced.'”

Co-workers, friends, council members and family members took turns remembering Mr. Searight. Several memories included some humorous times.

&#8220John didn't want anyone else to drive his truck, that's for sure,” the mayor said, laughing.

Mayor Flynn presented Mrs. Searight with a beautiful plaque dedicated to the honor and memory of her husband by the mayor, the Rutledge Town Council and the Town of Rutledge.

&#8220A copy of this plaque will hang in the Town Hall,” Brown said.