Robert J. Sawyer

Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning Science Fiction Writer

R.I.P., Virginia Sawyer

by Rob - December 9th, 2015.
Filed under: R.I.P..

My mother, Virginia Sawyer, aged 90, passed away very early yesterday morning (Tuesday, December 8, 2015), at North York General Hospital in Toronto. She was lucid until the end, and made her own decision to have life-sustaining aids removed.

She was able to say goodbye in person to Jack (her husband of sixty-three years), as well as to me, my wife Carolyn, my brother Peter, his wife Jacquie, and our sister-in-law Kim (my brother Alan’s widow), and, by phone, to her brother Quentin Peterson in California and my mother’s niece Sonja Peterson.

My mother’s remains will be cremated tomorrow morning. At her specific request, there will be no memorial service or memorial marker. Brief death notices — as dictated by her to me shortly before her passing — will appear in The Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail newspapers on Thursday, December 10 (tomorrow).

My father John A. Sawyer prepared this obituary for my mother:

Sawyer, Virginia Kivley (Peterson)

Virginia was born in Appleton, Minnesota, on February 26, 1925. She was the daughter of George Martin and Nell (Kivley) Peterson and sister of Quentin Kivley Peterson.

She married John A. (Jack) Sawyer in 1952 and was the mother of Peter D. Sawyer (Jacquie), Robert J. Sawyer (Carolyn), and the late Alan B. Sawyer (Kim).

Virginia graduated from the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Minnesota (M.A.), and the University of Chicago (M.B.A.).

She taught Statistics at the University at Buffalo (1947-49), and was a part-time lecturer at the University of Chicago School of Business, Carleton University (Ottawa), McMaster University (Hamilton), and the University of Toronto Woodsworth and Scarborough Colleges.

She was a member of the North York University Women’s Club for many years and made donations to establish the Virginia Sawyer Award in the School of Women’s Studies at York University.

In January 2014, she moved into Canterbury Place Retirement Residence in North York. She died on December 8, 2015.

My mother was predeceased by her youngest son, my brother Alan, who passed away thirty months to the day before her. At my mother’s request, there will be no memorial service, but she asked that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Alan Sawyer Memorial Awardat Ryerson University’s RTA School of Media (my alma mater, but where Alan, an Emmy Award-winning producer, frequently guest-lectured and mentored):

Or: 416-979-5000 ext. 6541 (ask for Karen)

Robert J. Sawyer online:

2 Responses to R.I.P., Virginia Sawyer

  1. My sincere condolences on your loss. It doesn’t matter what age a parent has attained before their passing, it is still a wrench for the children. It sounds like she had a full and contributing life. All the best.

  2. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. It was nice to hear about her success and it must have gratified her to have such a wonderful family.

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