Volume 24, Issue 4, Winter 2006

The Passing of Friends

Gordon “Buddy” M. Sears 1923-2006

Gordon “Buddy” Sears did more than almost anyone else to guide Bat Conservation International in a philosophy that has brought extraordinary success for the past 25 years. A prominent public relations professional, this Founding Trustee was “one of the most significant people ever in the history of BCI,” says Founder Merlin Tuttle.
Sears died in Columbia, South Carolina, on Thanksgiving Day 2006. He was 83. “No one made a bigger difference in giving us early credibility and in mentoring me in how best to lead BCI,” Tuttle said.
Sears, a U.S. Marine infantry officer in World War II and the Korean War, was Chairman and CEO of T.J. Ross and Associates, among the most prestigious national public relations firms. He later served as Senior Consultant to the Corporate Services Group of Hill and Knowlton and to MacNeil/Lehrer Productions.
His long association with BCI began after Sears read a front-page story about bats, BCI and Merlin Tuttle in the Wall Street Journal in October 1983. (That article was one of the first favorable stories about bats to appear in a national publication.) “He called me and said, ‘I’m always fascinated by extreme challenges and you seem to have one,’” Tuttle recalled. Sears served on BCI’s Board of Trustees from 1984 until 1991.
Sears introduced Bill Walker, President and CEO of Bacardi Imports, Inc., to BCI in 1984. Walker also became an invaluable trustee, and Bacardi Rum, which has featured a bat on its label since 1862, produced and printed one million copies of the first major educational brochure introducing the public to the truth about bats. Sears, of course, wrote the brochure.
Tuttle credits Sears with BCI’s winning philosophy: “Don’t just give people doomsday scenarios about all the things that are wrong with the world,” he said. “Show them how they can solve problems. Help them to feel proud about making things better.”
Gordon Sears spent his life working to make the world better.

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