Hansen-Spear Funeral Home – Quincy, Illinois

Dr. Edward Sawyer

Dr. Edward H. Sawyer, age 76, of 416 Yule Court Quincy, Illinois died Friday, February 15, 2013, at Blessing Hospital.

Dr. Edward Sawyer | Hansen-Spear Funeral Home - Quincy, ILDr. Sawyer was born in Hollywood, California on August 10, 1936 to William Marcus Sawyer and Mildred August (Morgan) Sawyer. Edward married Shirley Ellen Kestler on June 14, 1958 in Twin Falls, Idaho. The family moved to Canton, Mo. in 1968, and then moved to Quincy, Illinois in 1973. Dr. Sawyer is survived by his wife of 54 years, Shirley, and daughters Cindy Trower (Dan) and Heidi Ludwig (Mark), and granddaughters Kristen Zahm (Derek) and Kaylee Ludwig, all of Quincy, Illinois. He is survived by all of his siblings: William Marcus (Bill) Sawyer of Oregon, Dale Sawyer of California, Gerald (Jerry) Sawyer of Iowa, and Terry Lee and Beverly Iraha of Hawaii.

Dr. Sawyer was a professor at Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Missouri for 33 years, from 1968 to 2001, and chair of the Division of Humanities from 1988 to 2001. Dr. Sawyer was an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). He spent his life devoting himself to his ministry, his family and education.

Dr. Sawyer received his Bachelor of Theology in 1958 from Northwest Christian College in Eugene, Oregon. He earned a Master of Arts in religion and philosophy in 1963 at De Pauw University, in Greencastle, Indiana. In 1965, he received a Masters of Divinity from Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, Indiana. He completed doctoral studies in 1971 at the Graduate Theological Union, in Berkley, California.

Dr Sawyer was an active member of the First Christian Church, where he was elder emeritus. He served in many roles: chairman of the board, Sunday school teacher, choir member, committee chairman, preacher at many local churches in Missouri and Illinois, and member of district committees.

Dr. Sawyer loved to travel in the United States and abroad. His travel experiences included sabbaticals in Germany and Scotland, a teaching engagement at Kunming Teachers College in Kunming, China. He had many interests. He was a member of the Quincy Symphony Chorus for many years. He volunteered as gardener at Villa Kathrine. Dr. Sawyer was a volunteer chaplain at Blessing Hospital. His hobbies included house remodeling, rebuilding his vintage VWs, baking excellent pies, and playing and baking with his granddaughter. Dr. Sawyer was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease 10 years ago, and continued to enjoy an active life despite the illness.

Dr. Sawyer will be greatly missed by his family, friends, colleagues and prior students. He was a wise and patient teacher, mentor and friend.

Visitation: Wednesday, February 20, at 9:00-11:00am at First Christian Church at 1415 Maine Street, Quincy Illinois

Memorial Service: Wednesday, February 20, at 11:00am, at the First Christian Church at 1415 Maine Street, Quincy Illinois with Rev. Tracy Armstrong, Rev George Sublette, and Rev. Dr. Teresa Dulyea-Parker officiating.Following cremation, private inurnment will be held in Greenmount cemetery at a later date.


• Culver-Stockton College Scholarship Fund, Canton Missouri

• First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), 14th & Maine, Quincy Illinois

• Quincy Symphony, Quincy Illinois

Arrangements: Hansen-Spear Funeral Home.



  1. Dear Shirley,
    It’s been many years since we’ve seen each other. Please accept our deepest sympathy for your loss. Ed was such a great teacher and member of God’s community. He was my philosophy professor at Culver and, before I took his class, I could barely spell it let along understand the subject. He made me think about issues and concepts that had never occurred to me.
    Shirley, Karen and I remember singing in the choir with you and sharing so many fun evenings at the church. With warm regards and a hug, Steve and Karen

  2. He was a good teacher, a good friend and a good man who nearly always had something thoughtful to say. He is missed.

  3. Shirley, we’ve thought about you often these past days. We have so much appreciation for Ed and all that he has meant to so many people – students and adult friends and acquaintances as well. We hope your future days will find a true feeling of God’s Peace. Know that we love you!
    Vera and Cy

  4. We are very sad to read of Dr. Sawyer’s death . Our condolences to you, Shirley, and your family. In case you don’t remember, we lived and worked in the neighborhood, college and Canton Christian Church in the late 60’s and early 70’s. You were marvelous friends to us and our two sons, Nathan & Ethan. God be with you all at this time.
    Phil & Carol

  5. Dear Shirley and Family,
    I am so sorry for your loss. Dr. Sawyer will forever stay in my memory as a patient, wise, and outstanding professor and human being. When my grandfather died in 1987, I was in his Philosophy class, and he delivered the news to me and showed genuine compassion and care in the following months. I will never forget his kindness.
    May his life serve as a legacy for many beautiful memories. May God keep you in His loving care and give you every strength you need. Warm Regards,

  6. Shirley, Harold and I were never fortunate enough to meet Ed but know he must have been a wonderful devoted man. We are saddened to hear of his passing but know he is not suffering now. We extend our love and prayers to you and the girls in this time of pain. God bless you , Cindi and Heidi and famalies. Gerald

  7. Dear Sawyer Family,

    So sorry to hear of Dr. Sawyer’s passing. He holds a dear place in our hearts. He was a great role model in an era that we truly needed the Christian influence.

    Our prayers our with you,
    Michael & Ann Wilson, CSC ’85 & ’86

  8. I was very sad to hear from my mother that Ed had passed away. I have so many memories of him from Canton and Quincy when I was visiting and playing with Heidi and as an instructor for Christian Heritage (which he made easy, just a history lesson).
    Ed was to me a strict and loving, wise man with deep and strong values, high standards, and could kill you with a look. He was ready and very willing to provide help, support, compassion, share laughter, and enjoy life. I can hear his laugh right now. He was so interested in other people and cultures and had a piercing intelligent look that showed you he was sincerely interested and listening to what you had to say.
    Ed is linked in my mind with his VW bugs. The Yule Ct. house in my memory has a VW parked in the front with a piano in the front room. I remember Ed whipping up his OJ into a froth in the a.m. with a blender that I always thought was really fancy and made me think he was a gourmet cook!
    Thinking of you with sorrow and memories also, Shirley, Heidi, Cindy and families.

  9. Dear Shirley and Family,

    We join the many friends who are saddened to learn of the passing of your beloved husband and father. His legacy will live in the lives of so many who were touched by his kindness. We hope the many meaningful memories and God’s Blesings will comfort you in the days ahead.
    We are thankful, Shirley, for having the past experiences of working with you.
    Best wishes, Richard & Fern Heitholt

  10. Dear Shirley & daughters,
    Dr. Sawyer was my favorite professor at C-SC. He was tough (until I broke his lecture/ test code) and always fair with his students. My favorite memory of him occured as I was painting rooms in Shannon Hall one summer. I looked out the window to see him wearing a golf hat with artificial grass and a golf ball on top walking hand in hand with Heidi when she was 2 or 3. The look of peace and complete happiness on his face has always stayed with me. I share these words from Romans 8 “there is nothing in all creation that will ever separate us from the love of God which is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord.”

  11. Heidi and Family,
    Dr Sawyer was a tough and awesome professor. Prayers for your family in the lost of a wonderful person.

  12. Shirley, Cindy & Heidi,

    So sorry to receive the sad news. He will definitely be missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with you

  13. Dear Shirley & Family,
    I am so sorry for the loss of your special loved one.
    Shirley my heart goes out to you and your family, I know the feeling of loss, yet relief that your loved one is no longer suffering. I am a firm believer that we will see our loved again. May God Bless you all.
    Your friend and class mate.

  14. Dear Shirley & Daughters,

    We were saddened to hear the passing of you loving husband/father. We met you & Ed on a New Zealand & Australian Cruise several years ago. We enjoyed MANY evening dinners with you and hearing of all your experiences. I have the great pleasure, after all of these years, to still communicate with Shirley. SHE is a gem. Her messeges to me, through troubled times were consoling & treasured still.
    Caring thoughts are being sent to you. Warm regards, Mary Beth

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