Robert B. Sawyer was a bona fide Yankee, born in Haverhill, Massachusetts on November 23, 1921 to the late Robert H. Sawyer and the late Dorothea (Baker) Sawyer. He attended the University of New Hampshire, graduated from The Aero Industrial Technical Institute and continued his education, at night, at M.I.T. and Lowell Technological Institute (now part of UMass Lowell). He served in the Navy during World War II. Prior to World War II he was employed as an aircraft inspector by Chance-Vought, where his future wife happened to be an engineering assistant in several departments. Chance-Vought moved to Texas, much to the dismay of the New Englander who did not take to life in the Southwest. He quit, came east, and married Ruth.
After four jobs and four moves in four years he decided the aircraft industry was too unstable. He found a position at Raytheon as a quality control engineer and stayed with them for twenty-nine years. He specialized in the development of quality control and quality assurance systems for new products.
Work was quality control, but fun and adventure were involved in building and sailing boats and in bicycling - single and tandem, old and new, road bikes and mountain bikes. Bob belonged to many cycling associations and was a state captain of The Wheelmen. His hobbies led him and his wife over the highways and byways of North America and Europe.
Somehow, between airplanes, missiles, boats and bikes, Bob has made time for serving on the Lexington Town Report Committee and on the town's Bicycle Advisory Committee. For seven years he was a Boy Scout troop leader, holding the Silver Beaver Award. Bob and his wife volunteered with Meals On Wheels. Bob served for many years on the Charles River Wheelers Board and as rep to the League of American Wheelmen (LAW, now LAB).
Bob and Ruth moved from Lexington to Carleton-Willard in Bedford in November 2000. Bob was very involved with the CWV energy committee helping to move the administrators to install more solar panels and consider more energy efficient housing units. Bob was also in charge of the woodworking shop and was on committees for computer assistance, off-site activities and landscaping.
While at Carleton-Willard, Bob was involved in the Bedford Bike Committee team that organized and ran the award-winning bike to school event each year for many years. Bob was a strong advocate for alternative transportation. In Bedford he was an active member of the Bicycle, Trails, and Sidewalk Committees. He created and published a "Shop Bedford by Bike or Foot" map that identified the off-road paths to the shopping areas in Town. In Lexington he was one of the early active proponents for the recently installed bike lanes used by many cyclists commuting from the Minuteman Bikeway to work on Hartwell Ave.
In 2008, the Minuteman Bikeway was inducted into the Rail Trail Hall of Fame, only the fifth rail trail in the country to receive that honor. As part of the celebration, Oct 5, the 'pioneers' from Arlington, Lexington, and Bedford who early on helped create the Minuteman Bikeway were recognized. This was from the ceremony in Bedford:
"We recognize Bob Sawyer, a true MM [Minute Man] pioneer and cycling advocate who easily could have been honored both in Lexington and Bedford for his many contributions. If you know Bob then it will not surprise you to learn that besides his current bike and trail committee activities, and his 60 years of contributions to biking in Lexington and Bedford, he was teaching and testing a group of boy scouts earning their cycling merit badge last spring."
Bob was always on the lookout for a good used bike at a yard sale on his regular rides in the area. He would buy them, fix what needed fixing, and then sell them to people for the cost of his materials.
Bob’s wife, Ruth, pre-deceased him. He is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Robert and Alice Sawyer; his younger sister, Barbara Natalino; his niece, Nancy Hosford; Nancy’s daughters (grandnieces) Alexandra and Chelsea and a great grand niece and nephew.
In lieu of flowers, those who wish may make a donation to Charles River Wheelers (CRW), 26 Fox Run Road, Bedford, MA 01730 (https://www.crw.org); WCRB, One Guest Street, Boston, MA 02135 (https://www.classicalwcrb.org); Carleton-Willard Village, 100 Old Billerica Road, Bedford, Massachusetts 01730; Hancock United Church of Christ, Congregational, 1912 Massachusetts Ave, Lexington MA 02421 (https://www.hancockchurch.org) or a charity of their choosing.
A memorial/celebration of life service will be held at Carleton-Willard in Bedford on Monday, May 20, 2019 at 3:00 PM
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