One More Chapter

When Steven’s son, Dixon, was a boy, Steven would read to him every night – mostly “Hardy Boys” books – and because the boy was not tired and also wanted to know what would happen next, he would often ask for “one more chapter.” More often than not, the father would oblige.

Sadly, on Tuesday, August 25, 2015, the story of Steven Searle’s life came to a close after many chapters – some happy, some sad, but all of them written in his own unique style. As much as his family and friends might wish for “one more chapter,” they will have to console themselves with the vibrant ones already committed to paper.

When Searle was a child, he and his family bounced around the northwest side of Chicago and environs, before finally settling in the Lincoln Square neighborhood. As a junior high school student, he began a lifelong friendship with future “Chicago Reader” photographer Mike Tappin. Although Mike has been gone for nearly 17 years, Searle counted him as his best friend, and what a rare and wonderful thing it is as an adult to have someone you can call a best friend.

After high school, Searle enlisted in the Air Force, at the height of the Vietnam War. After being stationed in Thailand for a year, he left the military and entered civilian life. He spent much of his time traveling the country, accumulating memories in places like New Orleans and Oakland before settling back in Chicago.

In the late ’70s, Searle met and married Mary Moran Galvez. The couple had a son, Dixon Galvez-Searle, who they raised in an Avondale home owned by Steven’s in-laws, Louis Martinez Galvez and Helen Moran Galvez. The couple later divorced, but remained on good terms until the end of Searle’s life.

Starting in the early ’80s, Searle worked for Northeastern Illinois University, first in the Special Education Department and then in the Media Services Department. He retired from the university in 2012. He would occasionally irritate his supervisors by advocating for students and jousting with administrators, but Searle always believed that he was on the right side of those skirmishes. His co-workers had high praise for him at his retirement, and for years afterward.

During his life, Searle maintained several core passions. First and foremost, he was a Buddhist. For years, Searle was an adherent of Soka Gakkai Nichiren Buddhism. Even after he drifted away from that particular sect, he continued to chant daily, to read his Lotus Sutra, and to maintain a blog ( dedicated to his interpretation of Buddhist texts.

Searle maintained another, primary blog ( dedicated mainly to political and social issues. He took great pride in his essays and was fond of saying, “I blog, therefore I am.”

Searle also loved playing and teaching chess. For years, he would volunteer at various Chicago Public Schools, and also took extended vacations during the summer to teach students at the Science & Arts Academy in Des Plaines. In his spare time, he watched as many movies as possible, and preferred “the big screen” to home viewing. More often than not, he would remark that he had seen every movie playing at the Landmark Century Centre Cinema, some of them more than once.

Searle is survived by his son Dixon, daughter-in-law Jaime, sister Laurie, brother Roger, and ex-wife Mary. He was a proud grandfather to the late Drazan Anthony and Damon Patrick.

Searle will be cremated, per his wishes, and the family plans to hold a private memorial service. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Steven’s favorite charity, the United Negro College Fund (