MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — Lester Joseph “Buzz” Sawyer entered the joy of heaven on Saturday, May 22, 2010 at North Memorial Hospital in Robbinsdale, Minnesota (Minneapolis) at the age of 79 years and 11 days.
He was born in Black Brook, New York, to Winifred (Hanmer) and Freeman Sawyer on May 11, 1931.
He lived with his family in Au Sable Forks, until at age 18 when he got his GED and enlisted in the United States Air Force during the Korean War in December of 1949. He was assigned to a base in Bermuda for three years where he worked on large four-engine bombers (the B-17 and B-29). During his time in Bermuda, he met and married a young woman from Minneapolis named Lolita “Lollie” Grueber, in 1952. Lester was discharged from the USAF in December, 1955 and they returned to Minneapolis where he was employed as an aviation technician and took flying lessons. A few years after the birth of their son Timothy in 1960, the Sawyers applied and were accepted into Wycliffe Bible Translators for missionary service. After a summer of jungle survival training in Mexico (1965) and nine months of language training in La Paz, Bolivia, they spent four years in the jungle of Peru from 1966-1970 and another two years in Ecuador from 1971-1973. They returned to the Minneapolis area permanently in 1973 where Lester was employed as an aviation technician and mechanic with Signature Flight Services, and was active in the Army and Air Force military reserve.
In 1991, Lester retired from Signature Flight Services and also from the military reserve. Since that time, he has been actively engaged full time in the ministry of car repair, most recently at Masterworks in Minneapolis and as “chauffeur and mechanic” — bus and van driver for the Bethlehem Baptist Church youth, the BBC Northwestern/Bethel college shuttle, and numerous other groups.
Lester, who was called “Buzz” by most people, was widely known as a servant and helper, giving sacrificially of his time and resources to many people in need. He was another set of “God’s hands and feet” in the world, and he will be greatly missed.
He is survived by his son, Timothy Sawyer (wife Heidi); grandchildren Erika and Emily; his siblings: Chester Sawyer, Milton Sawyer, Shirley Thomas, John Sawyer, Sherman Sawyer and Catherine Rumsey; and many friends and acquaintances.
He was predeceased by his wife, Lolita “Lollie” Sawyer; infant grandson Joshua Timothy Sawyer; sister Evelyn Sawyer; and brother Ernest Sawyer.
A memorial service was held Saturday, June 12 at Bethlehem Baptist Church, North in Mounds View, Minnesota. His remains were interred at Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis, with a full military honor guard.
Friends wishing to remember Lester may make a memorial contribution in his name to Bethlehem Baptist Church, 720-13th Avenue South; Minneapolis, MN 55415.