Remembering – Obituary for Dr. Carol Sawyer

Buchanan Loss • Obituary for Dr. Carol H. Sawyer • March 11 2023

Submitted by Jon R. Wallace, PhD
Dr. Carol H. Sawyer78May 27, 1944March 11, 2023

Dr Carol H. Sawyer, 78, formerly of San Diego, California and most recently of Portage, Michigan passed away quietly on Saturday, March 11, 2023. Services will be held by the University of La Verne at a later date in April. She has been cremated and the remains will be interned at Oak Ridge Cemetery in Buchanan near her parents and grandparents.

Carol was born on May 27, 1944, to Robert and Bonnie (Wells) Haedtler in Chicago, Illinois.

She graduated from Buchanan High School in 1962. Her bachelor’s degree was in English with a minor in History from Michigan State University. Carol earned a master’s degree in Librarianship from Western Michigan University and a Doctorate in Public Administration from the University of Southern California. She held membership in the Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, and Tau Sigma honorary societies. She was appointed an Educational Leadership Institute Policy Fellow early in her career. Later, she served with the Coro Foundation Women in Leadership Program, St. Louis, Missouri; the Global Institute for Leadership Development; and led multiple international Leadership Challenge Workshops.

Dr. Sawyer was a distinguished lifelong learner, teacher and professor strongly engaged in the learning and growth of her students at every level, organization, and institution she served. After retiring from the University of La Verne, she taught as adjunct faculty with San Jose State University.

From 1994 to 2005 Dr. Sawyer was the program chair of the Master of Science in Leadership Management (MSLM) at the University of La Verne, tripling enrollment while expanding delivery to nine locations in Southern California. Carol was able to bring internationally renowned leadership authors on campus to meet and speak with students and faculty including Dr. Warren Bennis, James MacGregor Burns, Joseph Rost, Jay Conger, Frances Hesselbein, Marshall Goldsmith, Andre’ Delbecq, James O’Toole, Peter Vaill, Margaret Wheatley, Jean Lipman-Blumen, Lee Bolman and Terry Deal, Daniel Pink, and Steve Farber.

She was twice recognized by the Department of Public Administration Chairperson, Dr. Jack Meek, with the Chair’s Award of Outstanding Contribution to the Department. The Governing Board of the University’s Alumni Association honored her in 2007, as a “Distinguished Professor”. In 2021 Carol received the University of La Verne Excellence in Teaching Award, presented by the Provost of the University of La Verne after nomination by the Dean of the College of Business and Public Management.

While at the University of La Verne, Dr. Sawyer designed the Master of Arts in Governance Leadership (MAGL) in partnership with the California School Boards Association. At the request of an Orange County corporation, she designed a customized version of the MSLM degree to meet the specific developmental needs of mid-level managers. Over the past 30 years Dr. Sawyer has lectured or taught in dozens of countries around the world and published numerous articles and textbook contributions.

Dr. Peter Vaill previously requested her to lead seminars with Antioch University doctoral students. Prior to the University of La Verne, Dr. Sawyer taught at the University of Southern California (USC) for 10 years in the undergraduate, masters and doctoral level and for Chapman University. She was a faculty member for the first training institute for Teach for America, teaching for the University of Southern California’s School of Education. For four years she worked with USC’s Washington Public Affairs Center as a faculty member for the Truman Foundation’s three-week Policy Institute in Washington, DC. Many of her graduate students and industry professionals continued to maintain relationships with her right up until her passing.

In 1984 Carol christened fast attack submarine the USS Pittsburgh SSN 720 during her marriage to the Honorable George Sawyer. Up until it’s decommissioning in 2020, Dr. Sawyer was very active in the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Navy League of the United States, attending every change of command. She always said that her experience with the captains and crews of the USS Pittsburgh was one of the highlights of her life.

Carol travelled globally extensively, often to teach or visit family. When any family visited Carol, she would find a museum, musical, play, dance recital, theater, symphony, or a cappella singing which she loved greatly to share with them. Her children and grandchildren all expressed appreciation for those experiences. When Covid hit Carol would perform online theater in Zoom with her friends from St. Paul’s Episcopal church in San Diego. She was a longtime supporter of northern California’s Voices in Harmony, the international championship chorus Masters of Harmony, the Westminster Chorus and Gold Medal quartet Masterpiece, whose lead singer was a nephew. She also regularly enjoyed the services online at First Church of God in St. Joseph, and listening to her son Jon broadcast Benton Harbor, Berrien Springs, and Portage Northern high school sports.

Carol is survived by her three sons, Jon (Katherine Suender) Wallace, William (Cynde) Wallace, and Christopher Lewis: sister Susan (Josef) Ruth and brother David (Carrielynn) Haedtler; grandchildren Joshua Wallace, Samuel Wallace, Liam Wallace, Annika Wallace, Caroline Wallace, Andrew Wallace, Jacob Wallace, Ryan Suender and Koen Suender; great-grandchildren Madelaine Wallace and Henry Wheelock. Dr. Sawyer was preceded in death by her parents Robert and Bonnie (Wells) Haedtler and her second husband Archie Lewis.

Remembering – Dr. Carol H. Sawyer

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