Obituary and Condolences

Richard Louis Sawyer

July 20, 1947 May 12, 2018
Richard Louis Sawyer
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Obituary for Richard Louis Sawyer

Richard Louis Sawyer, long-time resident of Iowa City, died at the Bird House, Hospice Home of Johnson County after a long battle with brain cancer, on Saturday, May 12, 2018. Richard was born on July 20, 1947, the youngest child of Edward and Rose Marie Sawyer of Houston, Texas. He lived in Houston and attended Rice University until 1969 when he earned a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics. He then moved to Iowa City to attend graduate school at the UI in statistics, where he completed his Ph.D. in 1973. That year he was hired by ACT where he worked for the rest of his career rising to various administrative and technical positions. He retired in 2014, after more than forty years of service, but continued as a part-time consultant. Richard had a profound gift: He could explain even the most complicated mathematical and statistical concepts in lucid, comprehensible language. His editorship of the ACT Research Journal helped many contributing authors to develop a wider audience. He was modest, always helpful, and never condescending: a true gentleman who will be remembered fondly by his many friends and colleagues.

Richard was an avid gardener and talented amateur landscape designer who, with only the help of books and practice, became an accomplished stone mason. He completely redesigned the Manville Heights yard he shared with his partner, adding numerous stone terraces and well-crafted walls. Richard was also interested in photography and for many years had a basement darkroom. He assembled fine collections of photographs, art glass and tribal rugs. Hiking was another passion. He climbed numerous trails in various parts of the Sierra Nevada, the Rockies and even the Italian Dolomites, Hadrian’s Wall in Scotland, and several glaciers in New Zealand. He often traveled to Europe, especially Italy, but also explored extensive areas of Greece, Spain, Egypt, and Morocco. A favorite trip was a cruise down the Danube from Budapest to Bucharest in 2015. He accompanied his long-time partner, an archaeologist, to numerous ancient Mediterranean sites and museums, and both men often attended each other’s professional conferences.

Richard was preceded in death by his parents, two sisters and their husbands, and a nephew.
He is survived by his partner/husband of more than forty-six years, Richard De Puma, his brother Edward of Angleton, Texas, and several nephews and nieces. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in his name to the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center, UIHC, and the Iowa City Hospice.

A memorial will be held at 2 PM, Saturday, July 21, 2018 at Richard's Home, 409 Hutchinson Avenue, Iowa City, IA, 52246.

To send flowers or a remembrance gift to the family of Richard Louis Sawyer, please visit our Tribute Store.

Previous Events





2:00 PM 7/21/2018 2:00:00 PM
Richard De Puma's Home

409 Hutchinson Avenue
Iowa City, IA 52246

Richard De Puma's Home
409 Hutchinson Avenue Iowa City 52246 IA
United States

Memorial Contribution

Iowa City Hospice

1025 Wade Street
Iowa City, IA 52240

University of Iowa Foundation -- University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics

P.O. Box 4550
Iowa City, IA 52244-4550

University of Iowa Foundation -- Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center

P.O. Box 4550
Iowa City, IA 52244-4550

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