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Clifford Morrill Sayre Jr.

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Clifford Morrill Sayre Jr. Obituary
Clifford Morrill Sayre Jr.

AGE: 84 • Kennett Square, PA

Clifford Morrill Sayre, Jr., was born in December 1930 in Springfield, Massachusetts, the oldest of three children of Eleanor Crowell and Clifford Sayre. He passed away on September 13, 2015, in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, after a steep decline in his health over the year.

Cliff was married for 56 years to Mary Stewart Connell Sayre, whom he met on a skiing trip when they were both living in Charleston, West Virginia. Cliff was preceded in death by Mary, and earlier by his brother, Philip Russell Sayre, of Guilford, Connecticut. Cliff is survived by his sister, Natalie Sayre Ayers of Miami, Florida, and her son Douglas and his family; sister-in-law Harriet Welles Sayre of Scarborough, Maine, and her children Debi, Lisa, Dan, and Ann and their families; his daughter, Elizabeth Stewart Sayre of Oakland, California; and his son Frank Connell Sayre of Austin, Texas, Frank's wife Carolyn, and their sons George, Murphy, and Roger. Cliff is also survived by friends among the residents and staff of Kendal at Longwood, too numerous to mention by name, who provided daily companionship, banter, and care during his later years.

Notably, Cliff lived in many different places throughout his life, beginning in childhood. The family moved to Lima, Ohio, in 1937, to Burlingame, California, in 1940; to West Orange, New Jersey in 1943; to Los Gatos, California, in 1944; and to Norwood, Massachusetts in 1947, where he completed high school. After graduation from college in 1952, he lived in New Jersey, Texas, Delaware, West Virginia, Louisiana, and California. As an adult he lived longest in the Woodbrook neighborhood of Wilmington, Delaware, from 1972 to 1987. He lived in Kennett Square from 1987 to 1998, and again from 2004 until this year.

Cliff prized intelligence and education. After graduation from MIT, he worked for DuPont from 1952 until 1992. He attended graduate school at Columbia University in New York, and in Louisiana and Delaware during his career. At DuPont, during his first 20 years he worked at the plants (Victoria, TX twice; Arlington, NJ; Parkersburg and Belle, WV; La Place, LA), Wilmington offices and Experimental Station twice: in Manufacturing and Research. He took part in several plant startups. Later he spent five years in a variety of assignments in planning and business analysis. He spent his last 15 years at DuPont in company-wide transportation and distribution activities and as corporate staff. In 1988 he was chosen as the National Industrial Transportation League's (NITL) man of the year. He helped rewrite transportation law in the U.S. and traveled extensively in Europe, Asia, and Latin America during his career.

Cliff served as an elder in two Presbyterian churches, and for 17 years was on the board of Big Brothers/Big Sisters. After retirement from DuPont, he worked as an independent consultant and expert witness, participated in an entrepreneurial venture, and served on several boards. He then retired from working altogether in 1998.

Cliff was tirelessly energetic, and a perfectionist, about his personal projects and beloved pastimes: the beautiful yards and gardens he kept outside different houses (most notably, a gorgeous, long bed of hybrid roses in Wilmington, DE), reading and sometimes writing, cooking chili and coq au vin, baking bread, following various sports teams (especially the Red Sox), and fly fishing. Like Mary, he loved music, particularly bluegrass, folk, and jazz, and would reminisce about his trips to hear rising straight-ahead and be-bop stars in New York and Philadelphia in the 1950s. Also like Mary, he adored the series of cocker spaniels, and one poodle, that the family had over the years. He was glad to be part of the dog park project at Kendal and had the chance to throw some balls there for his last beloved cocker Sophie, still a happy resident of Kendal, in late August 2015.

A memorial service for both Clifford and Mary will be held on Saturday, December 26, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. at Kendal at Longwood, 1109 East Baltimore Pike, Kennett Square, PA 19348.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Clifford's name may be made to Memorial/Honorary Gifts, Trout Unlimited, 1777 N. Kent St., Suite 100, Arlington, VA 22209-3801.

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Published in The News Journal from Oct. 18 to Oct. 20, 2015
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