Roland R. Sawyer, 85


Roland R. Sawyer, 85 of Wheaton, died on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023.

Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 28, at Hultgren Funeral Home, located at 304 N. Main St. in Wheaton with interment at St. Michael Cemetery. The Hultgren Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.

Mr. Sawyer was born June 12, 1938 in Staunton, to Roland and Viola Sawyer, and soon moved to Litchfield, where he was raised. In 1956, he graduated from Upper Iowa University, where he met the love of his life, Patricia Sawyer (nee Reilly). The couple was married in 1961 .

Mr. Sawyer taught at Wheaton Central High School for 34 years and part-time at College of DuPage for over 20 years. He was beloved by all of his students and friends. He entertained them endlessly with his humor, stories of Litchfield and his many sayings (such as “you can’t roller-skate in a buffalo herd”). 

Mr. Sawyer retired in 1994 with his wife, and together they enjoyed traveling and spending time with family and friends. They were wonderful grandparents who attended all of their grandchildren’s activities, from baseball and softball games to theater productions.

Mrs. Sawyer was diagnosed with ALS in 2012, and Mr. Sawyer took care of her at home until she needed 24-hour medical care. He was by her side all day, every day at the nursing home. After her passing, Mr. Sawyer visited her every day at the cemetery until he was no longer physically able.

Mr. Sawyer is survived two daughters, Angela (Robert) Kneisel of Carol Stream, and Kimberly (Gerald) Duttlinger of Wheaton; four grandchildren, Christine (Sean) Tait, Melanie (Evan) Kneitmix , Rebecca Duttlinger and Michael Duttlinger; two great-grandchildren, Ava Tait and Roland Kneitmix; brother, Wayne (Nona) Sawyer  and many cousins, nieces and nephews.

In addition to his wife, he was preceded in death by his parents; parents-in-law Joseph  (Charlotte) Reilly; brother-in-law, Joseph Reilly Jr.; brother, Dave Sawyer, and sister Loretta Bruce.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Les Turner ALS Foundation, 5550 W. Touhy Ave., Suite 302, Skokie, IL 60077, in honor of his late wife, Patricia.  Family and friends may sign a guest book online at