Photography

MERLE LOUISE SAWYER

October 10, 1920 ~ May 7, 2023 (age 102) 102 Years Old

Obituary

Merle Louise Sawyer, 102, of DeKalb, IL passed away on May 7, 2023 at OakCrest Nursing and Rehab in DeKalb.

Born on October 10th 1920 in Waterman hospital, Merle was the daughter of John Matthew and Laura Clara (Kopfer) Weiherman. She grew up on a farm on Weiherman Road north of DeKalb and attended a nearby one room country school for her first 8 grades. After her family moved into DeKalb in the 1930s Merle could be heard as a soloist on WLBK radio on the Sunday morning services broadcast from Immanuel Lutheran Church. She was often in demand to sing at weddings, funerals, and other functions in the area for many years.

After graduating from DeKalb High School, Merle went to work in the offices of the DeKalb AgResearch. During the war she lived in Chicago working as a secretary on the Manhattan Project under Robert Oppenheimer, which developed the atom bomb. She was given a certificate of appreciation by the U.S . War Department for her services.

In 1944 she enrolled at NIU and received a (BA) degree in Fine Arts and a (BE) in elementary teaching. She was a member of Delta Zeta sorority. Merle also served as editor of the Northern Star.

After graduation Merle worked for the DeKalb Daily Chronicle as a feature writer. While with the newspaper, she was given flying lessons and wrote a popular weekly column about her experiences for the paper, also interviewing many of the flying farmers of northern Illinois at a time when the roads were poor. 

Merle married Harrison Sawyer of Sawyer Auto Imports in 1949 and they celebrated 55 years together. She and her husband travelled extensively visiting five continents and all 50 states.

Merle enjoyed teaching second and fourth grades at Cortland School for fifteen years.

Her interests were varied yet linked with the arts. In her later years she painted many beautiful oil paintings and exhibited at the Farm Bureau art show. She kept busy with clay modeling, carpentry, needlework, designing and sewing her own clothes and singing. She was creative and practical and always planning what she was going to make next.

Merle served on the DeKalb Planning Commission and was a past president of the League of Women Voters. She was a member of the Christian Women’s Club and served with the Family Service Agency. She was also proud of her work for many years with the Bible Class at DeKalb Sr. High-Rise. At Immanuel Lutheran church Merle served as the secretary for the congregation, Chair of the Social Ministry Board, Chair of Women’s Guild, Chair of the Altar Guild, was a Sunday school teacher and the LWML president. She gifted the stained glass windows that line the sides of Immanuel Lutheran Church.

Merle was baptized into the Lutheran faith where she remained a fervent believer in Jesus Christ as her Savior all her life. She served her church in many areas.

Merle is survived by her three children Mark (Denise) Sawyer of DeKalb, Candace (Roy) Caddick of Redhill, England, and Craig (Andrea) Sawyer of Phoenix, AZ. There are seven grandchildren Heather and Philippa Caddick, Emma, Preston and Claire Sawyer, and Kathryn and Owen Sawyer. She has four step grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. She is predeceased by her parents, her husband, three sisters and one brother.

A visitation will be held on Thursday May 11, 2023 from 1pm until time of funeral service 2pm at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 511 Russell Rd, DeKalb, IL 60115. Interment will follow at Fairview Park cemetery, DeKalb. 

In lieu of flowers memorials can be made to the Immanuel Lutheran Church in care of Anderson Funeral Home, PO Box 605, DeKalb, IL 60115. 

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of MERLE LOUISE SAWYER, please visit our floral store.


Services

Visitation
Thursday
May 11, 2023

1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Immanuel Lutheran Church
511 Russell Road
DeKalb, IL 60115

Funeral Service
Thursday
May 11, 2023

2:00 PM
Immanuel Lutheran Church
511 Russell Road
DeKalb, IL 60115

Interment following funeral service
Thursday
May 11, 2023

Fairview Park Cemetery
1600 S 1st St
DeKalb, IL 60115

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