Joseph Burt Sawyer

April 2, 1936July 29, 2020


J. Burt Sawyer passed peacefully, with family, to his home in Heaven on July 29. Born in Huntsville, Alabama on April 2, 1936 and a 1954 graduate of Notre Dame High School of Chattanooga, Burt attended UTC prior to entering the USARMY, OCS commission in which he retired after 35 years as a Lieutenant Colonel, primarily serving as Supervisory Staff Administrator for 3397th Garrison Reserve Unit. He also had the rank of General in the Tennessee Defense Force. Burt received the Department of Army Commendation for Meritorious Performance and volunteered for the Armed Forces Day Parade for numerous years in addition to being heavily involved in the Reserve Officer’s Association. Burt also served as owner of Sawyer Landscape Group, a company started by his father in 1934 and through this venture he developed his notorious penchant for appreciating everyone he encountered, regardless of role. Burt was preceded in death by parents Emma and Daniel Sawyer and brother Dick. He is survived by the girl of his dreams of 59 years Clare McReynolds Sawyer, his children Joe (Kim), Beth Wrinkle (Britt), Dan (Stephanie), Andy (Kathy) and Cammie Hunt (Erik); his sister Carolyn Sawyer Hill and brother John Friedel (Del) Sawyer. PapaBoo is also survived by his precious grandchildren Brennan Wrinkle (Amanda), Hayley Sawyer, Brittany Quas (Greg), Ellen, Daniel, Ben, Colin, Austin, Sam and Katherine Sawyer, Amelia and Charlie Hunt. Burt lived in his family home on Tremont Street in North Chattanooga for 70 years, and during the last 44 of those years raised his five children and ran his landscaping business all the while serving his country in the US Army Reserves full time. Burt and Clare spent the last 14 years living it up on the lake where their family established many wonderful memories. Burt loved music and helping others, freely giving tokens of appreciation, and always doing the right thing. He lived a life full of gratitude and treasured precious dances with his bride. Burt and Clare are active members of Holy Spirit Catholic Church where, as a greeter, Burt welcomed parishioners with a warm smile and kind words. A private family Mass will be celebrated at St. Jude Catholic Church. A celebration of life involving his friends and family will be held at a safer date. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations to either Notre Dame High School or Chattanooga Area Food Bank.

Arrangements are under the care of the North Chapel of Chattanooga Funeral Home, Crematory and Florist, 5401 Highway 153, Hixson. Please share your thoughts and memories at


  • Private Family Visitation

    Sunday, August 2, 2020

  • Private Family Mass

    Monday, August 3, 2020

  • Private Family Committal Service

    Monday, August 3, 2020


Joseph Burt Sawyer

have a memory or condolence to add?

Peggy Landry McCall

August 4, 2020

Clare, I am so sorry for your loss. Burt was such a kind and loving person. I always enjoyed seeing the two of you at the reunion this time every year. Our families share memories that go back to even before my time. My prayers are with you.

Martha Butterfield

August 3, 2020

Clare, and to all of you "kids", I am so sorry for your loss. I have fond memories of all of you. Burt was special, and so are you. I am thinking of you.

Martha Butterfield

Jim and Janie Hughes

August 3, 2020

To Clare, children, grandchildren, other family and friends,

We wish to express our sincere condolences to all of you on Burt's passing. We remember his warm smile, mild manner and kindnesses shared at many gatherings of the Hughes, McReynolds and Prickett families. The obituary noted that he was a greeter at church...a fitting role for him....he's probably doing that in heaven right now. May God's grace give you strength and peace of heart at this time.
Jim and Janie Hughes, Monterey, Virginia

Myra Hendee Ireland

August 2, 2020

I’m so sorry for your loss. I wish you peace during this difficult time.

Joe Williams

August 2, 2020

Clare and Family:
My prayers are extended to you this day. Burt was an inspiration to me since we met at the 3397th. Little did I realize at first, he knew me from the Texaco gas station he worked at on Frazier Ave. After our meeting, we enjoyed many great years in the Army Reserve and Tennessee State Guard.
Burt was always a man of the dirt. He planted , fertilized, weeded, and harvested soldiers and lawns throughout his life.
One memory sticks with me. If the times were tough he would grin and smile. He was known to always push on and make the best of every situation.
Thank you for sharing him to so many in our community. He touched our lives and will be deeply missed.
Joe V

Mary Ann Schenk

August 1, 2020

When I was in elementary school, I will always remember Burt as an altar boy. He was an ND high schooler, I was in elementary. His entrance down the middle aisle was distinctive and reverent. The added flourish was provided by his rhythmic swaying from side to side. He was tall and handsome and it always put hope in my heart that one day I would find someone when I rose to the upward classes who would be as handsome as Burt!♥️He was a wonderful man! My sympathy to Claire and the family especially lovely Canmie.🌹♥️

Alan Syler

August 1, 2020

The veteran community of our area will miss our friend Burt. He always stepped up to get the job done. His attention detail and guidance were qualities we always tried to emulate.
Rest well our friend, I will miss you.

Jim and Sandi Radle

August 1, 2020

Burt!!! What wonderful memories of a terrific person that brought so much pleasure and happiness into this world. Our memories of camping with the Sawyers at their Possum Creek land will always be remembered. Both our kids remember those days with smiles. Burt was always so welcoming to all who came. Who can forget all of us sitting around the campfire with Burt, Clair, his kids, grandkids, the Hills and many others eating, telling stories, playing the guitars and singing late into the night. Burt was such a role model for all of us to be kind and caring. We haven't seen you much lately, but you will always be in our memory and it will bring us smiles everytime we think of you. Lots of love from the Radles.

Seth Baker

August 1, 2020

I had the pleasure of growing up with the Sawyers around me.

After graduating from Notre Dame, I was a little aimless but was interested in the military. Burt (Col. Sawyer) and I had a lengthy discussion that helped me to determine a military career might be a good choice for me. I followed that path and was rewarded with a wonderful life for it. Thank you Burt. You will be missed.

Mike Hunter

August 1, 2020

Burt was a wonderful husband and father. Truly a special person.
Clare and Burt...What a wonderful match.
Rest in Peace, Burt. Prayers are being said for you and family.


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