Gaylene Ann (Watson) Searcy

Gaylene Ann (Watson) Searcy
November 17, 1938 – March 31, 2021


The beloved daughter of Marcella and Monroe Watson, Gaylene Ann was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa on November 17, 1938.  A 1956 graduate of Shelby High School, her class motto “Reward Is in The Doing” was a hallmark of her life.

Gay attended Northwest Missouri State in Maryville, Missouri, which became the alma mater for her daughters and where she met her husband.  Gay and Ron were married in Shelby, Iowa on June 1, 1958.

She was a gifted educator who set her sights on teaching as a third-grader.  She believed “a child should develop early in life a sense of self-worth and self-esteem and an awareness that his teacher cares about him.”   “Every child must be recognized as an individual with certain strengths and weaknesses and work in a program designed for the child.” She wanted to be remembered “as a teacher who was interested in them as a person, who showed love and was concerned about their futures.”

Gay earned her undergraduate teaching degree and a graduate degree in early childhood education from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.  She taught at Manilla, Jefferson, Johnston, and Council Bluffs, Iowa, and retired from Loess Hills Area Education Agency as a Birth to Three Education Specialist.

She was a member of Broadway United Methodist Church, Council Bluffs Service League, P.E.O. Chapter GQ, American Association of University Women, and numerous local, state, and national education associations.

Gay, a devoted loving mother and Tutu (grandmother), assured that her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchild were known and loved.  She cherished each individually and let them know in word and deed how much they meant to her.

Gay loved entertaining, laughing with friends, world travel, and Irish music.  A lifelong supporter of the arts, she would be found settled in her seat 30 minutes before showtime.

Gay was preceded in death by her parents. She is survived by her daughters, Jill Grundy and Jane Parry (Gordon); her grandchildren: Morgan Burnham (Randy), Parker Grundy, Hannah Parry, and Hunter Parry; her great-grandson, Wesley Burnham; former husband, Ron Searcy.

VISITATION observing CDC guidelines: Friday, April 9th from 5pm to 7pm, and Saturday, April 10th from 10am to 11am, West Center Chapel.  CELEBRATION OF LIFE: Saturday, April 10th at 11am, West Center Chapel.  Private interment: Shelby Cemetery, Shelby, Iowa.  Memorials are suggested to Omaha Community Playhouse or The Arts Center at Iowa Western Community College.

To view a live broadcast of the CELEBRATION OF LIFE, please go to and click the “View Live Cast” button on the home page.



  • Betty Harris Posted April 3, 2021 7:50 pm

    Jane and Gordon, Hunter and Hannah, you are all in my thoughts and prayers! Betty

  • Jennifer flatt Posted April 4, 2021 8:00 am

    My dearest sis ,I have wonderful memories of our long and forever lasting friendships I have been truly blesses by having you in my life . love, laughter ,and may you have peace and the sun shine on you , goodbyes are not forever, are not the end ,it simply means I will miss you until we meet again .Jennifer x

  • Dorothy Laubenthal Posted April 5, 2021 10:53 am

    Bob and I were so sorry to learn of Gay’s passing away last week. Our love and prayers go out to you ,Jill and Jane, and your families. We are making a donation to the Iowa Western Art Center in memory of Gay. God bless all of you. Love,Bob and Dorothy

  • Lori Hawker Posted April 5, 2021 10:35 pm

    Jill and family. You had such a special mom, she was such a big influence on everyone that met her.
    You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Bonnie Gioiello Posted April 6, 2021 7:15 am

    Our friendship goes back many years and many great memories. My condolences to her wonderful family.

  • Betty Bowman Posted April 8, 2021 3:18 pm

    Jane & Jill -So sorry for the loss of your dear mother. May God comfort you. Bob & Betty Bowman

  • Bonnie Dollen Posted April 8, 2021 7:07 pm

    Gay was an amazing lady and had the biggest heart! Without her guidance when our boys were babies ,they wouldn’t be where they are now – independent and happy! Sending many hugs and prayers to her family.

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