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Glenn D. Sawyer

Obituary for Glenn D. Sawyer

December 7, 1929 - May 5, 2017
Austin, Texas | Age 87

Obituary

Glenn Donald Sawyer was born on December 7, 1929, in Spur, Texas to John Henry Sawyer and Lillian Beauregard Cooke Sawyer. John Henry was a newspaperman, a tough life during the years of the Great Depression. The family moved frequently as papers closed down and new opportunities arose - from the towns of West Texas, to Eagle Pass and Raymondville in the Valley, to Corpus Christi on the Gulf Coast, and Uvalde in the Hill Country. The family would often spend several months at a time when dad was in between jobs with Lillian's father, a widowed butcher, who lived in Ozona. In the mid 1940's John Henry began work in San Antonio at the newly established Kelly Air Field. Upon graduation from Uvalde High School in 1947, Glenn joined his father and began working at Kelly Field. He worked there until September 7, 1950, when he joined the Air Force.

His tour in the Air Force was during the Korean Conflict, and he was stationed in Illinois for a brief period after his basic training, and then he was assigned to Alaska. His time in Alaska was marked by many adventures, most of them involving frostbite of some sort or another. He also witnessed the great Alaska earthquake. His entire Air Force career was spent as a radio repairman working with electronics of various types. He received his Honorable Discharge as a Staff Sergeant on August 19, 1954.

The Sawyer family had settled in San Antonio by this time, so Glenn returned home and attended San Antonio Junior College from 1954 - 1956. He went on to The University of Texas at Austin, and received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering on January 30, 1958. He was a dedicated student, a member of the Phi Theta Kappa fraternity, an Associate Member of Alpha Epsilon Rho National Honorary Radio-Television Fraternity, and was admitted into membership in Eta Kappa Nu Association in recognition of his scholarship and other attainments by which he manifested his interest and ability in the profession of Electrical Engineering. Upon graduation, he began work at UT Austin with the KLRN public television station that was fed out of San Antonio, and made many trips to the relay towers in New Braunfels. Shortly after that he began work on the team that established the KLRU public television station in Austin.

Glenn was not only a recognized Electrical Engineer, but pursued a few other things, as well. He met Erna Lydia Klotz in June of 1957 when one of his friends arranged a blind date for him with her. He picked Erna up in his brand new 57 Chevy. The story is that when Erna saw him driving up the lane, she was out of the house and in the car before she had properly said her goodbyes to her mother and father or even finished drying her hair. Apparently, Glenn was equally smitten. He was not a German boy from anywhere around Coupland or Richland -- not even from anywhere else in Central Texas. He was not even Lutheran. But that was taken care of in good order -- Glenn was accepted into membership at St. John's Evangelical Church in Richland on March 30, 1958. All the prerequisites had been met for a proper "hitching," so they were engaged and got married on August 17, 1958 - almost exactly a year from their first date. It was the hottest day recorded up until that time. The beeswax church candles could not be lit because they were melting and drooping so fast it would have been a serious safety hazard! Glenn's kind spirit and sense of humor proved invaluable to help him win over all of his new extended family. He was not beer drinker. Not a dancer. Not a German. Tough things to overcome in Richland, Texas! He was an admirable husband. Erna cherished him greatly.

Glenn continued his work at UT, and became the sound engineer for a "new" TV show that was going to be all the rage: Austin City Limits! About the same time, Glenn and Erna's only daughter, Lois Lydia, was born -- June 25, 1963. Glenn taught her to throw a ball like a boy, and he drank tea from miniature cups with her dolls. Lois adored him as a father.

Glenn retired from UT after 30 years of service in 1988. He went on to establish his own engineering firm and did consulting work with local school districts and government agencies. He also worked for Video Associates Labs (VAL) as a production consultant. He retired "for real" in the summer of 1995, and dissolved his engineering company in 2002.

Glenn died in his sleep in the early morning hours of May 5, 2017. He is preceded in death by his parents and two older brothers, Robert Allen and Jack Manley; his wife, Erna; and his daughter, Lois. He is survived by his youngest brother, John Lee Sawyer, and wife, Mary, of San Angelo, Texas; his son-in-law, Tim Stahlke, of Austin, Texas; and Tim's son, Andrew, of McAllen, Texas. All of his and Erna's nieces survive - Jo Ann Ray of Cassville, MO; Peggy Wilson of Benton, AK; Rebecca (Becky) Folkman of Austin, TX; Linda Bucks of Lubbock, TX; Mary Seals of Tulsa, OK; Carol Cameron of San Angelo, TX; Susan Hester of Sandy, Utah; and Antoinette (Toni) Winkler of Taylor, Texas.

Interment will take place immediately after the service at Austin Memorial Park.

Memorials may be made to the Hope Lutheran Church Music Fund.

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Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home North

3125 N Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78705
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