Robert A. Sawyer, a storied advertising man and longtime resident of Rye, N.Y., died at home on February 2, 2022. He was 82.
Born on March 14, 1939, in Brooklyn, N.Y., he was the son of Ruth (Partridge) and Dr. Charles Douglas Sawyer.
He graduated from Proctor Academy in Andover, N.H., and from Syracuse University, Newhouse School of Communication with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Advertising. After college, he served as a First Lieutenant Communications Specialist in the U.S. Army, and was stationed in La Rochelle, France, from 1961 to 1964.
He began his decades-long career in advertising, direct mail, and digital marketing as a product manager at The Reader’s Digest Association. He went on to be an executive at Compton Direct Marketing, Saatchi & Saatchi, Sawyer Direct, a division of of BBDO International, Young & Rubicam, and Ayer Direct at N.W. Ayer. He ended his career as president of Sawyer Direct, which he founded.
Among his many clients were Alfa Romeo, American Express, Avon, Petty Printing, Spring Hill Nursery Catalogue, Pepsi-Cola, The U.S. Army (“Be All you Can Be” campaign), Campbell’s Soup (“Labels for Education” program), Proctor and Gamble, and People magazine (launch campaign).
Professionally, he contributed to a variety of organizations. He was a board member of the Hudson Valley Direct Marketing Association where he received the Founders Award; and a board member of the New York Direct Marketing Club, which presented him with the Silver Apple award for making strides in direct marketing and contributing his time and talents to the industry for over 25 years.
Socially, he was a member of American Yacht Club, which presented him with the Michael B. Duncan Memorial Trophy in 2017 for exemplifying the spirit and sportsmanship of sailing.
Personally, he was an active member of the Rye Presbyterian Church, serving on the Board of Deacons and the Board of Elders. He also gave his time to Burke Rehabilitation Hospital in White Plains, where he was a volunteer for 23 years in the stroke unit.
In addition to his wife of forty-five years, Sally W. Beatty, he is survived by his children, Molly Daley of Pawleys Island, S.C. and John Sawyer of Atlanta, Ga.; and eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren of whom he was exceptionally proud. He is also survived by his twin brother, Bruce Sawyer of Baltimore, Md., his brother Peter Sawyer of Leawood, Kan., and his sister, Susan Schiff of Denver. He was predeceased by his son Jeffrey and his brothers C.D. Sawyer Jr. and Richard.
A memorial service will be held in the future at Rye Presbyterian Church.
Donations in Bob Sawyer’s memory may be made to Helping Hands for the Homeless & Hungry, Inc., P.O. Box 982, Rye, NY 10580.