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Dr. Sawyer's Story

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Dr. Thomas R. Sawyer, M.D., 90, of Fearrington Village, near Chapel Hill, North Carolina and summer resident of Traverse City, died Nov. 23, 2017 at his home.
He was born Nov. 5, 1927 in Jackson, the only child of Dr. Walter Wade Sawyer and Agnes (Billie) Rarick Sawyer. He spent his early years in Ann Arbor, where his father was a medical student and a resident physician in the department of surgery at the University of Michigan Hospital. He moved to Hillsdale with his family in 1940 and was a member of the Hillsdale High School class of 1945. During his senior year he moved to Kennewick, Washington where his father was a naval medical officer and he graduated from Kennewick High School in June of 1945.
He returned to the University of Michigan for a year before being drafted into the U.S. Army for two years. He returned to the university, finished his undergraduate studies and graduated from the medical school in 1955. He was an intern, resident and research fellow at the University of Iowa Hospitals in Iowa City, Iowa between 1955 and 1960. He spent a year at Vanderbilt University before returning to the midwest and finally settling in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he was in private practice and a member of the attending faculty of the Medical College of Wisconsin. In 1980, he joined Carolina Eye Associates in Pinehurst, North Carolina and finally retired Jan. 1, 2000. He has since lived in Fearrington Village near Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Dr. Sawyer married Marilyn Joyce Bischoff, of Ypsilanti, on Aug. 30, 1952 at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Ypsilanti, while he was a medical student. They are survived by four children, Mrs. Lynn (Michael) Schmaltz, of Tucson, Arizona, Ms. Susie Sawyer, of Traverse City, Mr. Stephen (Julie) Walter Sawyer, of Stevens Point, Wisconsin, and Mrs. Molly (Cary) Hiller, of Atlanta, Georgia. They are also survived by five grandchildren, Ms. Susie Schmaltz, Mrs. Samantha (Emmett) Hiller Drake, Mr. Thomas Hiller, Dr. Stephen W. Sawyer Jr., and Ms. Maggie Sawyer. Marilyn passed away this last June. Tom and Marilyn Sawyer had been married for 65 years.
Dr. Sawyer had an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and adored the University of North Carolina auditing multiple classes each semester at UNC since moving to Fearrington Village. Tom and Marilyn were avid fans of the Tarheel athletic teams and were regular attendees at the home games of the women's soccer team.
Tom had an indomitable spirit, a warm heart and wonderful sense of humor. He thoroughly enjoyed each interaction he had with people from any walk of life. His intelligence and warmth will be missed by many.
A private service will be held next summer. Burial will be at Oak Grove Cemetery in Hillsdale, Michigan. To view the obituary and send condolences, visit eaglefuneralhomes.com.
Published on November 28, 2017
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