RIPLEY – Richard Albert Sawyer Sr., 78, passed away Dec. 3, 2013, at home after an extended period of declining health. He was born Feb. 10, 1935, in Ripley, a son of Othniel and Maude (Roach) Sawyer.
He attended elementary school in Ripley and N. H. Fay High School in Dexter. Richard completed his education after enlisting in the U.S. Army in 1956. He was stationed at Fort Dix, N.J., and Fort Bragg, N.C. He married Mary Kay Leavitt of Corinna on Aug. 21, 1962. They made their home in Ripley where he was always working on a project or helping his family and neighbors. He and his brothers made summers memorable for their children and neighborhood friends by holding weekly base ball games in the field at his house for many years. He was employed for many years in automobile sales at Labun Chevrolet-Oldsmobile in Dexter, where he formed many lasting relationships with customers and co-workers. When Labun’s closed its doors, he took his years of mechanical knowledge to the Dexter Regional Vocational Center where he shared his experience with students in truck driving, heavy equipment and small engine programs, retiring in 1997. During his years at DRVC he also spent summers working for the C. M. Ellms Company of Dexter. He served as selectman of Ripley and also as moderator at town meetings for several years. He also helped clear the roads of Ripley during the Blizzard of 1969 as one of only a few men able to operate the Osh Kosh plow vehicle, which was owned by Lowell “Kippy” Knowles and is now on display at the Cole Land Transportation Museum.
His grandchildren were a tremendous source of joy and pride for him, and in the years prior to his decline in health, he enjoyed attending their many school and sporting events. He will be remembered as one of the “three grampies” who sat in the top row of bleachers at Dexter basketball games chanting, “That’s my grandkid,” when a good play was made.
He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Mary Kay Sawyer of Ripley; his daughter, Valerie Cote and fiancé, Richard Shea, of Dexter; his son, Richard Jr. and wife, Deborah, of Dexter; his grandchildren, Sabrina Cote of Boston, and Gavin Cote of Bristol, Conn.; stepgrandchildren, Adam Baer of Dover, N.H., and Emily Baer of Berwick; his brother, Arnold and wife, Glenda, of Harmony; three sisters-in-law, Lucille Gray of Augusta, Joyce Page and Barbara Lemnah, both of Williston, Vt.; several nieces, nephews, and cousins; as well as his lifelong neighbors in Ripley Village.
He was predeceased by his brothers, Maurice, Ralph, Harold, and Stanton; and his nephew, Stephen Sawyer.
Private graveside committal services are planned in the spring. Memorial contributions may be made for a scholarship in his name to the Tri-County Technical Center, 14 Abbott Hill Road, Dexter, ME 04930. Those who wish may leave written condolences at wwwCrosbyNeal.com.