Wednesday, May 27, 2015
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
Life Story Funeral Homes - Rupert, Durham, Marshall & Gren
120 South Woodhams Street
Plainwell, MI 49080
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
501 St. Jude Place
Memphis, TN 38105
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
In everything he did, John H. Sawyer Sr. (Jack) gave it his all. Jack was a strong, hardworking and generous man who was always looking forward to the future. Jack was a devoted husband and loving father who found much happiness in all that he did, but it was sharing those experiences with the ones that he loved and adored the most. Jack had an adventurous side as well. He loved to ride motorcycles, camp, hunt but fishing was his passion. Jack was a strong willed, even stubborn, but had a heart of gold. He was willing to pitch in to help those in need. Jack will be deeply missed, but his memory will forever be cherished by all who were blessed to know and love him.
In the twenties it was a great time to be an American. Recalled as the roaring twenties, it was a vibrant time when innovation was taking us to places we had never been. Cars were more affordable do to the implementation of the assembly line and with the introduction of the Radio the world around us was in our reach. Amidst this exciting time, it was also a time of great anticipation for two young souls, Ezra & Hannah Sawyer, (Kittery Point, Maine) expecting the arrival of their first born child.
John H. Sawyer Sr. (Jack) came into this world on 4-28-1925. Jack was soon followed by his sister Margaret Sawyer (Fisher). In many ways, Jack had the typical upbringing and by the time he was in High School, Jack had taken up boxing. After graduating high School, Jack attended Maine Maritime Academy. Soon after, Jack enlisted into the Navy where he was a Motor Machinist in the Pacific Theater during World War II as well as an average boxer (his words).
With Jack’s military duty fulfilled, he returned home and married his first wife Elizabeth Hotchkins. Together they welcomed five boys into their lives, John, Stephen, Richard, Pat and Thomas. The Sawyer family relocated to Detroit, MI where Jack took on a new job for Chrysler Plymouth. Eventually Jack moved his family to Battle Creek, MI where he started a new job with Hydreco as a Tool Engineer. Jack ultimately left Hydreco for National Water Lift where he eventually became a Foreman and later retired in 1989 after 25 years.
In between the moves Jack’s first marriage ended and in 1960 he met his second wife Marilynn Friend while out dancing. Jack & Marilynn were married August 5, 1960 and doing so, Marilynn, three children, Susan Friend, William Friend Jr. and Mark Friend were welcomed into the Sawyer Family. Together they were a great pair who shared many interest. Together Jack and Marilynn enjoyed music, Jack had played the squeeze box, Marilynn the piano, and together they learned to play the accordion. In the early seventies, Jack and Marilynn bought a home on Pine Lake where they loved all the amenities it provided, Jack fishing and Marilynn watching the fireworks from the pontoon. After retiring from National Water Lift, Jack and Marilynn bought a winter home in Florida, where they had vacationed for over 20 years. Throughout Jack’s life, his family and beloved poodles were extremely important. In 2011, Jack lost his wife Marilynn Sawyer of 51 years.
All who knew Jack would agree he was a stubborn man. His family had an ongoing battle with him about putting his hearing aids in so that the neighbors wouldn’t assume they were always fighting. Jack also battled prostate cancer and being stubborn it worked in his advantage to outlast the cancer.
Not long after Marilynn death, Jack found love again with a pen pal he met during WWII, Ida Lanyon. Jack was reminded of Ida when he noticed her maiden name on the side of a plumbing truck. With a little research he located Ida back in Maine. After a few phone conversations, Jack drove up to Maine and spent time rekindling an old flame. After spending over a month in Maine, Jack moved Ida back to Pine Lake where the two would marry and reminisce about old times. Together, Jack and Ida celebrated almost 3 years of marriage.
The eternal optimist, Jack was a hardworking man who lived every minute to the fullest. He wasn’t one to let life get the best of him and he had a life plan to see 102, even though that was 12 years away. Jack will never be forgotten.
John H. Sawyer (Jack) Sr. of Pine Lake died May 23, 2015 at Borgess Medical Center not long after his 90th birthday. Jacks family includes his wife Ida, his sons Stephen Sawyer, Richard (Karen) Sawyer, Pat (Deborah) Sawyer, Thomas (Rhonda) Sawyer, William (Karen) Friend Jr and Daughter-in-law Shelly Houston. Jack will also be missed by his 18 grandchildren, 35 great grandchildren and 7 great-great grandchildren. Jack was preceded in death by his son John H. Sawyer Jr (1976), Susan Ladewig (Step-Daughter), Mark Friend (Step-Son), Marilynn Sawyer (2011) and Margaret Fisher, sister (2011).
Visitation for family and friends will be Wednesday May 27, 2015 from 4:00-7:00 p.m. at Life Story Funeral Homes, 120 Woodhams, Plainwell, MI 49080 (269)685-5881. Funeral services will be held the following day May 28, 2015 at Life Story Funeral Home with processions to Fort Custer National Cemetery.
Visit Jack’s memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can leave a memory or photo and sign his guest book. Memorial donations may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.