Neil Oakleigh Sawyer (1931 - 2016)

10 entries
  • "Pat and I are so sorry to read this news! Neil was a fine..."
    - Pa and Laura Lou Fitzpatrick
  • "we are very grateful to Neil and Karyn for their friendship..."
  • "Karyn, Neil will be very missed. His love of life and..."
    - Dr. Roy and Laura Horn
  • "It was a pleasure to know Neil I loved his stories. God..."
  • "Thoughts and prayers for Karyn and the family."
    - Diana Kingree
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Neil Oakleigh Sawyer, 84, passed away January 22, 2016. Born March 22, 1931 in Laredo, TX to Katie and Bert Sawyer, he also lived in many other states before retiring to Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. He was quite the adventurer as a young man in the rugged West. He and his older brother Gene worked their claims on gold mines in the Sierra Nevada Mtns, and he wasn't fazed by crossing the frigid Donner Pass on a motorcycle in the 1940s.
Later, he worked as a river guide on the Upper Colorado Rvr before anyone had ever heard of such a thing. He joined the Navy during the Korean War and toured the South Pacific on an aircraft carrier as a flight crew member. Flying on and off of aircraft carriers suited his taste for excitement. Following service, he graduated with a BS in Economics from the Univ. of Utah. While in Salt Lake City, he met the love of his life, Karyn, to whom he was married for 55 years.
He was an avid traveler, having visited all 7 continents and over 75 countries. His boundless energy found outlet through his many hobbies; gardening, travel writing, award-winning photography, and civic and Rotary activities, attending international conventions in the US, Australia, and Taiwan.
He was a keen observer of nature and birdlife. Neil's successful independent career in Jacksonville and Crystal River in the investment/insurance/planning business provided a wonderful lifestyle for his family and gave him flexibility to travel often. Above all, Neil was a family man, a Christian who loved the Lord and raised his family as such. He will be greatly missed by his large and extended family, his brothers David Sawyer and Warren Sawyer, sister Lynn Watson, and countless cousins, nieces and nephews. He was fortunate to have had many friends and several lifelong friendships.
He is survived by his wife Karyn, children Michelle Sawyer Thompson (Tony), Mark David Sawyer, Marie Sawyer Walchle (Bart), and his 4 grandsons, Christopher Thompson, Carson Sawyer Thompson, Reed Sawyer Walchle, and Grant D. Walchle. Neil was treated like a prince by the staff at the McGraw Hospice Center for which his family is very grateful. A celebration of Neil's life will be private.
Published in Citrus County Chronicle on Jan. 31, 2016
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