Robert Walter Sawyer, 73, Professor of Classics at Hiram College, born March 23, 1939, passed away peacefully at Hospice of the Western Reserve on May 17, 2012. The cause was metastatic melanoma. Most beloved husband for 45 years to Joanne; loving father to Jennifer (Scott) Fisher and Andrew (Jeanne) Sawyer; adored grandfather (Boppy) to Molly, Emma, Ben, and Teddy; treasured brother to Peter (Margaret) Sawyer, all of whom survive him. His immediate and extended families are devastated by the sudden loss of this dear man who meant the world to them. Born in Hillingdon, Middlesex, UK, he spent the years of WWII in N. Wales. He earned a B.A. in Classics from the U. of Exeter, with a teaching certificate from the U. of Birmingham. He taught at LeRosey, Switzerland; McGill U., Montreal; Sedbergh School, P.Q.; and Memorial U. of Newfoundland. He then earned an M.A. from the U. of Washington and a PhD. from the U. of Michigan, both in Classics. He came to Hiram College in 1972 to restore the lapsed program in Classical Studies and devoted the remainder of his teaching career (37 years) to Hiram students, teaching Latin, Greek, archaeology, ancient history, and classics in translation. He taught in the Regional Studies Program, with interests in James A. Garfield and the Classics; Almeda A. Booth, teacher and mentor to James A. Garfield; and the Garrettsville poet Hart Crane. He contributed many courses to Hiram’s Weekend College and served as Director of the Extra Mural Studies Program for 5 years. In 1981 he received the “Excellence in the Teaching of Classics” award from the American Philological Assn. and was inducted into the Garfield Society of Hiram College in 1982. In 1983 he taught at John Cabot College, Hiram’s affiliate in Rome, on an exchange basis. In 1998 he was named the inaugural holder of the Howard S. Bissell Chair in Liberal Studies at Hiram College. He was a beloved teacher, mentor and confidant to hundreds of Hiram students, maintaining contact with many of them over the years. Upon his retirement in 2006 he received the Hiram College Distinguished Service Award. In addition to his academic career, Robert carried out numerous volunteer activities. At his church, he served as a lector and Eucharistic minister; in 1994, he and his wife received the Knights of Columbus Family of the Year Award. In the civic sector, he served on the Hiram Village Council and as president of the Hiram Historical Society. In the social justice area, he organized the annual Salvation Army bell ringing at St. Joseph Parish, Mantua and served on the board of Catholic Charities of Portage County. He will be remembered and deeply missed by all who knew him as a most kind and gentle man, ever courteous and always prepared to give of himself and his time to others. Mass of the Resurrection will be celebrated at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Mantua at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, May 21, 2012, with the Rev. Michael Garvey officiating. (EVERYONE PLEASE MEET AT THE CHURCH). Family and friends are invited to a time of fellowship immediately following the mass in the parish hall of the church. Robert will be laid to rest at a private family service. Calling hours will be Sunday from 1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. at the Green Family Funeral Home & Crematory Service, State Route 44 at the corner of Pioneer Trail (S. of Rt. 422) Mantua, where recitation of the rosary will conclude the calling hours. The family requests any donations be made to Hospice of the Western Reserve, where Robert was respected and comforted in his final days, the Center of Hope, Ravenna, or Friends of the Hiram College Library, organizations dear to both Robert and his wife.
His obituary, personal video tribute and funeral service may be viewed at www.greenfamilyfuneralhome.com.