Edna Sawyer, age 88, of Mesa, AZ passed away January 28, 2021 rather unexpectedly. She was born Edna Ann Grothe to Elmer and Pauline (Meister) Grothe on August 21. 1932 in LeMars, Iowa.
Edna grew up on the family farm in Bloomfield, Nebraska. She attended St. Andrew’s Catholic School, the country school and Bloomfield High where she graduated in 1949. She was the oldest of 7 children born to Elmer and Pauline and worked many of the chores on the farm. It was while driving a tractor down the road that she met the love of her life, Dean Sawyer. She was only thirteen when they met. They married November 14, 1949. The Korean Conflict brought Dean out of discharge from an earlier stint in the Navy, and he re-enlisted where he served as a Navy/Marine medical corpsman. The young couple moved to California while Dean served out his enlistment. There, they were blessed with three children, Brenda (James Knapp), Jeffrey (Nancy), and Steven. The family bought their first house brand new in Buena Park, California and thrived in that welcoming community until 1960 where they moved to San Jose, CA. Dean and Edna remained in California until retirement and business opportunities called them to Arizona in the 1980s. They loved the beautiful desert and enjoyed many friends (old and new) while residing in Yuma and Somerton. Edna only moved to Mesa after Dean’s death where she could be close to Brenda and more family. She resided at several assisted living facilities loved by residents and caretakers alike.
During her lifetime, Edna worked inside and outside of the home. One of her first jobs was a ticket manager at the new theme park, Disneyland, in Anaheim, California. Who, in 1956, knew what that playland would become in the future except Walt Disney? Later, using her clerical and business skills, she spent many years until retirement working for the National Life Insurance Company. She loved the office work and made many life-long friends. She also made many friends using her incredible artistic talents. It was not uncommon for people to enter her room and be in awe of her many gorgeous paintings. She won several awards for her pictures. She was also a talented seamstress making suits, sweaters, wedding dresses and painted shirts.
Throughout this obituary, there is a common thread. Edna made many friends wherever she went. While searching and scanning her belongings; letters, notes, and cards were found and kept with love from friends she met in school, neighborhoods, work, groups to which she belonged and loving relatives. She was truly endeared by many and returned that sentiment. She was thrilled by people she met and knew. That is not her only legacy, however. She is survived by her 3 children. She also cherished her 5 grandchildren (Casey, Adam, Jamie, Elliot and Lindsay) and her 11 great-grandchildren (Ava, Taylor, Madden, Andrew, Zachary, Alexandra, Sawyer, CJ, Gretchen, Daniel and Sophia. What a ‘smiling’ party we had when all together. Also surviving Edna is her sister (Judy Robb) and brother (William) along with many nieces and nephews whom she loved dearly. She appreciated all their visits, phone calls and notes.
Per CDC requirements, there will be only a small memorial service. However, as requested by Edna, she will be interned with her beloved Dean at the Veteran’s Memorial Cemetery in Phoenix, AZ. After 61 years of marriage, they will be reunited for eternity.
Her family wishes to thank Traditions Hospice and Mission Palms Rehab Center. They cared for mom during her final days and blessed our family with the ability to be with her at the end during the world’s medical issues. The last three days’ visits meant the world to the entire family. She would want this ended with her hopes and prayers for the healing of the world. She remarked how incredibly blessed she was and what a wonderful life she experienced. The world was blessed by her!