McInnis & Holloway
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McInnis & Holloway Funeral Homes
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SAWYER, Willard Milton

March 11, 1922 – August 27, 2011

Willard Milton Sawyer passed away peacefully at Foothills Medical Centre on Saturday, August 27th in Calgary.

Will was an amazing and proud husband of the late Ann Sawyer; father of Diane, Donna (Steve) and Robert; and grandfather to Donna (Mike) Widdifield and her children Kara, Kurtis and Kendra; Debbie (Andy) Miljak, and her daughter Samantha; Scott Peake, Stan (Maria) Peake, and son Chase; and sister (Auntie Sis) Dolores Stiles. He was predeceased by his brothers, Gordon, Glenn, Murvin, and Kenneth.

Will was a Bomb Aimer with the RCAF in World War II on the Lancaster, and later became Squadron Leader. He worked in the Calgary Construction industry when he returned home. He was most proud of his work with the Calgary Construction Association. He played semi-pro softball and even represented Canada in Texas. Will loved all sports, played golf and tennis, was a formidable table tennis and curling opponent. He also was deeply involved in Dale Carnegie and Toastmasters, even competing in the United States. Will was often asked to speak at events long into his retirement. Three years ago, he co-wrote with his brother, Glenn—their book called “The River Rats Came Home” which many of you have seen. He has spent the last year selling his book at two downtown Second Cup Coffee franchises and he recently attended the Art Smith Museum, affiliated with the Aerospace Museum and he is also a member of the Air Crew Association. He was invited recently for a book signing by Indigo Book Sales downtown and at the Vintage Sports Car Club (upcoming in October). He personally sold over 1,000 books, travelling by city bus, Handi-bus, or taxi, proudly wearing his old uniform and talking to everyone along the way.

Funeral Services will be held at McINNIS & HOLLOWAY’S Crowfoot Chapel (82 Crowfoot Circle N.W.), on Thursday, September 1, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. You may forward condolences through In Lieu of flowers contributions may be made to the charity of your choice. Thank you to the staff at the Foothills Hospital for their care and compassion.

In living memory of Willard Sawyer, a tree will be planted at Big Hill Springs Park Cochrane by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Crowfoot Chapel, 82 CROWFOOT CIRCLE N.W. Telephone: (403) 241-0044.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Roxanne Nordlund :

    Donna, Diane, Rob, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your families at this sad time. Your dad was truly an amazing man and I’m blessed for having known him. I hope you can remember to be proud in those moments that you find yourself not overwhelmingly sad, k?

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  2. Sending condolences to Donna & Family on the passing of your Dad. My thoughts and prayers are with you all during this time of loss and sadness. May your memories of your Dad be cherished forever and bring both laughter and tears to all the people he touched. I feel very honored to have known him and for his sharing of his book “The River Rats Came Home” and reading of his experiences during WWII. He truly was an amazing man.

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  3. I had the pleasure of meeting Will when he was signing and selling his books at Western Canadian Place. I talked with Will at great length and had the pleasure of meeting at his place for drinks and going over his war memorabilia. My wife Trudy and I were able to have him over for dinner recently and we had a lovely evening. We will certainly miss Will as he was a charming gentleman. Thankfully we have his books to remember him by. Our sympathies to all of you at this time and our thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Mike & Trudy Taylor

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  4. I have had the pleasure of knowing Will for the last 4 years. We originally met through First Calgary Financial. He would regularly come to visit me. He also lived in the same building as my mother in law. We would regularly see him at the condos pancake breakfasts. He had a sweet heart. I admired that even in his retirement that he worked away on his book and was excited when he got to speak out on occasions like at his grand daughters school. He always spoke highly of his family. Will was a wonderful man. I am blessed for having met him and having got to know him. I send my heart felt condolences. He was well loved and will be missed dearly.

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  5. Having known Will for over 50 years in the construction industry, I can say that we have lost a real gentleman. It has been a pleasure to have been associated with Will. My condolences go to all the family.
    Bob Steele

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  6. Alpine Drywall (Calgary) Ltd. :

    Our deepest condolences go out to all of Willard’s family.
    Alpine Drywall (Calgary) Ltd.

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  7. Our deepest condolences.
    I will never forget the day I met Will, I work for a dentist in SW Calgary and saw Will walking through the parking lot of Westhills. Will had this large old briefcase in hand and as I watched him get closer I wondered to myself if it weighed more than him…, When he finally arrived at our door he introduced himself opened his suit case and asked if we were interested in buying his book. Not really interested in the book I still bought one because of his amazing story and personality. I went home that evening and told my husband about Will as he had made an impression on me. My husband seemed fascinated in Will’s story and as I showed my husband Will’s book I noticed Will put his phone number in the book… fate as it seemed. We quickly called Will and my husband talked to him and made plans for Will to meet at his business to help promote his book. Will sent a beautiful bouquet of flowers to my work thanking me for introducing him to Eric and helping him promote his book. That is what kind of person Will was, generous kind and loving. My husband Eric Kopp and Will quickly became friends and I know my husband is a better person after knowing Will.
    We will always think of Will with a kind heart and he will be missed.

    Melona Will and ERic Kopp

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