Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department, Michigan • Line of Duty Death: December 10, 2021

On December 10, 2021, Deputy James A. Lear passed away from complications as the result of contracting COVID-19 in the line of duty.

Lear was born in Chicago, Illinois and raised primarily in Kalamazoo, Michigan, alongside his two brothers, who he loved dearly and created a close bond with that carried from childhood into their adulthood. As a child, Lear loved animals, and specifically loved rescuing stray dogs with his best friend. Lear also loved art and history and having grown up in the inner city, had the opportunity to attend many museums and parades. Lear grew up in a very patriotic home, and always had pride in his country. After the terrorist attacks that took place on September 11, 2001, Lear felt compelled to join the United States Army and serve his country, and enlisted in 2005. Lear and his wife, Tricia, met while stationed at Fort Bragg, serving in Psychological Operations together. As a soldier, Lear enjoyed using his intelligence to convince people to report terrorist activity, as well as learn different languages. He received an Army Commendation Medal for his service and devotion to our country. 

After Lear was medically separated from the Army, he still had the desire to serve his community, and decided to become a law enforcement officer. He served as an Animal Control officer for the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office and eventually became a Sheriff’s Deputy in 2014. During his law enforcement career, Lear saved over 102 animals and assisted in searching for many missing children. 

Currently, Tricia loves all things science, art, music, theater, and books. She is also thinking about pursuing a college degree. Tricia is grateful to Tunnel to Towers for providing her and her children with the financial stability of a mortgage-free home. She plans on taking her children on vacation to Niagara Falls, which they are very excited about. Tricia would like others to know that her husband knew how to love well and loved showing it. His family was the most important thing to him and he always made them a priority. Lear was determined to work hard and put the safety of others before himself. Lear always carried his faith in God with him, which sustained him and motivated him every day of his life.

Deputy James A. Lear is survived by his wife, Tricia, his children, Caleb, Toby, Erich, and Kaileigh, his parents, Linda and James, and his brothers, Matt and Timothy.