- Vernon 'Buz' Sawyer, 90, passed away peacefully at the Presque Isle Rehab and Nursing Center on Friday evening, September 8, 2017. He was born February 2, 1927 in Mapleton, the son of Ivan and Clara (Coffin) Sawyer.
Vernon "Buz," known as "Harmonica Man," has had a harmonica in his hands and pressed to his lips since he was a small farm boy living in Mapleton. Playing the mouth organ has been a lifelong exercise for Buz. The music resounding from his harmonica carries with it rhythms and tones of Buz's life. There has never been a quiet moment. He was known for his strong work ethic that he learned as a boy on his father's farm, potato field picking, and working in the garden.
Upon graduation from Mapleton High School in 1945, Buz was confronted by the realities of World War II and was immediately drafted by the Army; he was given seventeen weeks of basic training. The Army was preparing him for the Japanese invasion when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. He was later sent to Italy where his jobs varied. He helped march German prisoners to and from church once a week, which he did for a year. But his real challenge was being the Assistant Chief Operator in charge of fifteen Italian girls that manned the Allied Headquarters' switchboard. This may have been the hardest job young Buz Sawyer ever had. Buz's long career of work included businesses like: Happy Cooking Gas Co., Coles Express, and ACAP. For 28 years he made deliveries throughout the "County" for Coles Express before moving to ACAP where he worked maintenance for 15 years until his retirement. But retirement for Buz may not mean the same thing it means to most people. As soon as he retired from ACAP, he became the sexton of Grant Memorial Methodist Church.
His music roots come from his grandmother Cora Coffin who played the piano for silent movies, and his father the farming fiddler player, who retired from farming to make violins.
He is survived by his wife of 69 years Marilyn (Flewelling) Sawyer of Presque Isle, a daughter Laurie Berry of Presque Isle, a son Jeffrey and his wife Peggy of Castle Hill, his grandchildren; Mathew and Dina Sawyer, Shawn Berry, Jeremiah and Lacey Sawyer, great-grandchildren; Christopher, Lucy, Isabella and Jackson Sawyer, Parker Sawyer and Tanner Smith, step grandchildren Raquel and Danna Beaulieu, step great-grandchildren Victoria and Sidney, several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by a son Michel, and a son in law Jim Berry, a brother Winfield Sawyer and a sister Elaine Ashby.
A celebration of Life with military honors will be held 1 p.m. Friday, September 15, 2017 at the Grant Memorial Methodist Church, Fleetwood Street, Presque Isle, with the Rev. Chris Dare officiating. Donations may be made in his memory to the Grant Memorial Methodist Church, P.O. Box 992, Presque Isle or to the House of Comfort, PO Box 867, Presque Isle, ME 04769. The family would like to extend a special thank you to the nurses and staff at the Presque Rehab and Nursing Center for all their care and support. Online condolences may be shared at www.duncan-graves.com
Published on  September 12, 2017