Newcomers knew the man. His home had an open door policy at dinner time on Thursday and Sunday. Newcomers, students and domestics had a home away from home with a tasty home-cooked meal. That along with Searles advice helped many Torontonian.
The Toronto Star reports:
“We are better off for these people,” Itah Sadu, owner of A Different Booklist says. “They were very decent folk, ordinary working-class people who done good. Their superstardom is the stuff we are made of. It’s special for us because they are us. We can touch them and laugh with them and hug them and recognize the place they hold for us.”
Born in Toronto, raised in Barbados, Searles returned to study law at the University of Toronto after marrying his life long love Kathleen. He worked at the post office and at the railroad to afford his family and his education.
“You don’t have to ask what a black man did in the ’40s; either you worked on the railway or as a shoeshine boy,” Edsworth told the Star in 1996.
Today he will be laid in the ground. He is survived by three daughters, Kathleen, Marjorie and Sylvia, and two granddaughters. Sylvia Searles-Elam is Mayor David Miller’s special assistant and a veteran in employment equity and race relations at City Hall and Queen’s Park.