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A trailblazer says goodbye

Sandy Sears retires after decades at Jackson Hospital

Erick Johnson | 6/23/2014, 10:13 a.m.
After 39 years, Sandy Sears is finally being released from Jackson Memorial hospital. She is checking out and is listed ...
Commissioners Audrey Edmonson and Barbara Jordan honored Sears (center) with a proclamation as Jackson Board Chairman Daryl Sharpton looks on at her retirement party last week.

They all had the skills and abilities that were needed at the time,” she said. “There’s a time and place for everything.”

Sears, known for her diplomacy, said Jackson’s unique history of serving the poor was part of the reason she stayed for all these years.

“It’s home to everyone,” she said. “It’s the community hospital. Jackson does what some hospitals today don’t do.”

THE TIME IS RIGHT

Sears announced her retirement in April, but she said she thought about leaving for months, and her decision to retire was difficult to make.

“The time seemed right,” she said. “But it (retirement) was something I was thinking about for some time. I knew this day would soon come. Many people say why not make it 40 or 45, but if I did, I’m afraid I may go for a 100.”

Although Sears is retiring, she is not settling down. She plans to spend more time with Marshall, her husband of 14 years, and her dog, Afro. After an excursion to the Western Caribbean, Sears will explore Alaska in August.

Sears’ retirement won’t be all fun and play, but easier. She plans to work as a health care consultant to several hospitals in the fall. It will be a refreshing change for Sears, who started her 13-hour work days at Jackson at 6 a.m. She will also attend more basketball games of her favorite team, the Miami Heat. And she has already started reading former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s memoir, “Hard Choices.”

“My decision to retire was a hard choice, but that’s what real leadership and life is all about,” she said. “But there is still a deep burning desire in my soul to serve in some other way. That’s why this retirement is not really a retirement, but just a pause.”