Obituaries Saugatuck/Douglas Commercial Record

Obituary: Laureen Ann Searing

Laureen Ann Searing, 80, of Fennville, passed away on Jan. 17, 2024 at Corewell Health Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids.
Laureen was born on Sept. 29, 1943 to the late Robert and Dorothy (Tallman) Millard of Mendon. She had an instinctive ease in connecting with people and an enthusiasm for learning that would set the stage early, for the life she created.
In high school she was the salutatorian of her graduating class, drum major of the marching band, first chair clarinet, a varsity cheerleader and held multiple class officer positions.
Upon graduating from Mendon High School in 1961 she attended Western Michigan University, earning her teaching certificate and later master’s degree in music and education.
When her first daughter Lisa was born, Laureen knew she wanted to introduce young children to the joys of learning and music.
She started her career teaching kindergarten in Mendon, and over the next 35 years she excited many young lives through letters, numbers, social skill development, storytelling and music. She had a lively children’s song for every aspect of everyday life — in which her grandchildren delighted!
Laureen married Jim Searing in July 1969 and four years later her second daughter, Kelli, was born. Soon she realized that she wanted to spend more time with her daughters and started teaching pre-school part-time.
Along the way a new passion was discovered: quilting!
Laureen’s talent for sewing was nurtured by her mother early in life. Once practiced, her skills as a seamstress were flawless. She produced vibrant, fashionable apparel filled with eye-catching details while still in high school.
Over the years, her innate sense for color, texture and pattern and her creativity led to quilting.
Laureen jumped into teaching an evening quilt class in Muskegon in the late 1970s and for the next four and a half decades she was a student, teacher, exhibitor, mentor, inspiration and collaborator in the art of quilt making.
In the early 1980s, she started attending an annual quilting workshop led by a nationally-renowned quilter on Beaver Island. Her artistic skills blossomed, but more importantly she formed lifelong friendship bonds with other quilters from all places and walks of life.
The annual pilgrimage to Beaver Island continued for the rest of her days, sharing time with friends and family in a spiritual commune with Lake Michigan and the abundant nature on the island.
Laureen adored her three grandchildren beyond measure, taking every opportunity to play, read and laugh with them. As they grew, she had an extraordinary way of sharing their interests, encouraging their development and making them feel especially loved.
Laureen was a natural at forming deep friendships throughout her life. Those close to her will miss her generosity, her laugh, the light of her smile, the strength of her spirit, and will always remember the deep love she had for her family and friends, and her love of water and nature.
Surviving Laureen are her husband Jim Searing of Fennville, daughters Lisa (Carlos) Escobar of Mount Pleasant, S.C. and Kelli (Todd) Mulderink of Grand Rapids, three grandchildren, Amelia, Claire and Wade Mulderink, and many other family members and friends. She was proceeded in death by her parents and a sister, Charlotte Owen of Traverse City.
A memorial service will be held at the Eickhoff Funeral Home, 311 W. Main St. Mendon, on Saturday, Feb. 24 at 11 a.m. with reception following. Visitation with the family will be open at 10 a.m.
It is suggested that memorial contributions be directed to: Mendon Schools Foundation – Millard Family Scholarships. Memories and condolences may be shared at

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