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Obituary for Betty Anna Lewis Sawyer
On Tuesday, August 16th, 2022, Betty Anna Lewis Sawyer passed away peacefully at the age of 90. She was born on March 10, 1932 in Littleton, NH. Betty spent her early childhood with her grandparents, Raymond and Ina Farwell in Wells River, VT. She enjoyed her summers at the family camp on Caspian Lake. Cold VT winters included whizzing down hills on wooden skis. While in high school, Betty and her sisters Alice and Carolyn moved to Jaffrey, NH with their parents, Robert and Alice Lewis. Betty, the eldest daughter, graduated from Conant High School in 1950 at the top of her class. However, because her father was the school's principal, he decided no valedictorian would be recognized that year. He was appropriately known to be "the principal with principles"!
In 1952, Betty was married to her high school sweetheart, Donald Harvey Sawyer. Always a "go-getter", Betty managed a room and boarding business in their first home. Next, Donald and Betty began raising their family, which eventually included four children. They later moved to Walpole, NH, and although she certainly had enough to do with her four young children, Betty was quite pleased when asked to run for school board. However, her hopes of serving the community ended abruptly when a male board member objected, asking "And just what could a little girl do?" Oh, how he underestimated what "that little girl" could and would accomplish in the coming years!
The family later moved to NY State and eventually settled in Boonville where Don continued working in agriculture. Betty ultimately pursued a college degree. She graduated with honors from Syracuse University in 1974 with a master's degree in library science. Following graduation, Betty worked for many years as the school librarian at Waterville Elementary School and later at the Rome Jr. and Senior High Schools until her retirement.
Over the years, Betty was an active volunteer in many organizations. In Boonville, she served as president of the Dodge-Pratt Northam Arts and Community Center. She was very active in the Boonville Presbyterian Church until she and Don moved to Brantingham Lake. Betty then joined the Lyons Falls Forest Presbyterian Church, where she remained a member for the rest of her life. The Forest Finds Thrift Store came about largely as a result of Betty Sawyer. She was instrumental in its establishment and was dedicated to the operation of this vital community service for many years. Betty was a board member and volunteer for Hospice for 25 years, was involved with Literacy of Northern NY, served as president and board director of the Community Human Resources, and was an active member of the Lewis County General Hospital Auxiliary. Basically, if there was an opportunity to volunteer for most any good cause, Betty would be on board. Her husband often commented, "If you need any help, just call Betty Sawyer." In her "spare time", she was also an original member of the "Walkie Talkies" and the "Ladies of the Lake". Betty initiated the forming of a local library, which ultimately became the Brantingham-Greig town library. In 2015, Betty was honored by receiving the Donald Exford Memorial Community Service Award in recognition of her years of faithful service to the community. As a teenager, Betty had aspired to become a social worker. She spent her adult life fulfilling that role through continually serving in whatever need presented itself. She hoped to be remembered as caring for the needs of others.
Throughout her life, Betty was an avid reader, almost always carrying a book with her wherever she went. She made colorful baby quilts for each of her grandchildren and was usually in the process of knitting a lap blanket for someone. Betty's family fondly remembers her whipping up wonderful meals, delicious homemade bread, Congo squares, blueberry cake, strawberry rhubarb pie, and cream puffs. In summers, homemade root beer was a tradition. She even made excellent bread & butter pickles every year, even though she didn't like them herself! She cooked for all the people she loved and cared for. She and Donald continued a special tradition from each of their families, which was the unwavering custom of serving popcorn and cheddar cheese as the evening meal each Sunday night!
Betty always loved living on the water. Years ago, she swam daily and canoed frequently. In her later years she expressed how blessed she felt in finding solace sitting by her windows and gazing at her beloved Brantingham Lake.
Left to forever cherish the memory of Betty are her children and their spouses: Deborah and Richard, Scott and Lin, and Cynthia; her 11 grandchildren: Elizabeth Doty (DeAngelo), Katherine (Adam), Brandy (Nate), Charity (Mark), Melissa (Tim), Jason, Lincoln, Ethan, Gretchen, Sarah, and David; as well as 9 great-grandchildren: Samuel, Tristen, Savanah, Ariana, Gabriella, Parker, Judah, Sawyer, and Dre Zion, along with her sisters Alice and Carolyn (Jim), and many dear friends.
Betty was preceded in death by her parents, beloved daughter Rebecca, and Donald Sawyer, her husband of 63 years.
Calling hours will be Saturday August 27th from 11:00am to 6:00 pm at Betty’s home 7946 Stonehouse Ln, Brantingham, NY. A celebration of her life will be held at the Iseneker Funeral Home, Inc., Lowville, at 2:00 on Sunday August 28th followed by a gathering at the 3G Fire Department in Glenfield. Food donations can be dropped off at the 3 G Fire Department any time after 10:00 a.m. on Sunday.
In lieu of flowers, gifts can be made to the Forest Presbyterian Church, 4019 Center Street, Lyons Falls, NY 13368; Brantingham-Greig Community Reading and Technology Center, 5186 Greig Rd., Greig, NY 13345; or Friends of Lewis County Hospice, P.O. Box 266, Lowville, NY 13367.
Condolences may be made online at www.isenekerfuneralhome.com.