Ruth Elizabeth Richards Sayer

OSWEGO, NY – Ruth Elizabeth Richards Sayer passed away peacefully at her home on Sunday Nov. 10, 2019.

Ruth Elizabeth Richards Sayer

She was the daughter of P. Lee Richards and Hattie Starnes Richards of Granite Falls, NC, and was predeceased by her loving husband, Frank E. Sayer Jr.; and her brother, Abel Richards.

Ruth graduated from Granite Falls, NC, High School in 1935 and from Lenoir-Rhyne University in 1938.

She taught school in Grace Chapel, NC, and then received her masters degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

In 1947, Ruth came to Oswego to teach at the Teachers College at SUNY Oswego.

She was married to Frank Sayer for more than 60 years until his death in 2010.

They had four surviving children.

An infant son, Thomas Eric, died in 1956.

Ruth is survived by her four children: Richard Sayer of Hannibal, NY, Frank Sayer III (Kathleen Whitney) of Oswego, Steve Sayer (Nancy) of Bluffton, SC, and Susan Sayer-Crewe (Jeff) of Mystic, Conn.; her daughter-in-law, Vivian Sayer; eight grandchildren: Leane Sayer Humphreys, Janis Sayer, Ryan Sayer, Lindsey Hanna, Scott Sayer, Elizabeth Scarson, Kathryn Sayer and Daniel Sayer-Crewe, and eight great-grandchildren: Austin Somers, Bradley, Cameron and Brynn Scarson, Preston and Reagan Sayer, Madison Sayer and Logan Hanna.

Ruth worked closely with her husband on their real estate business and at E. Sayer and Son grocery store.

Ruth was also active in many college and non-profit organizations, including Oswego Heritage Foundation, Oswego Historical Society, Oswego Ladies Home, Oswego Garden Club, AAUW, P.E.O., and Friends of Oswego Hospice, where the rose garden is named after her.

She had also been a supporter of the H. Lee White Marine Museum, Oswego Hospital and Friends of Fulton Historical Society.

She was named an honorary Rotarian and was recognized by the New York State Senate in 2005 as a Woman of Distinction for her many years of civic involvement.

On her 100th birthday, she was recognized by the mayor of Oswego for her volunteerism.

Through out her life she enjoyed gardening, entertaining friends and encouraging others.

Calling hours will be on Friday, November 15, from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Nelson Funeral Home, 11 W. Albany St.

Her funeral will be on Saturday, November 16, at 10 a.m. at the West Baptist Church, 39 W. Mohawk St., with the burial to follow at Riverside Cemetery, Oswego.

The family would like to thank the many people who cared and supported Ruth, in particular, Dr. Carmen Dator and Dr. Carlos Dator Jr., Donna and Christopher Campbell, Beverly Schleicher, Theresa Manicccia and her caring aides.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the following charities: H. Lee White Marine Museum, 1 W. First St. and Friends of Oswego Hospice Inc., 44 E. Bridge St., #204B, Oswego, NY 13126.

Ruth’s arrangements are in the care of Nelson Funeral Home.


  1. Oh Ruth, what can be said that you haven’t already heard? I thought of you just this past week,remembering a moment we shared on a hot summer night at Harborfest…you were a pleasant person to speak with, always the southern lady! I esp. recall how kind you were to me when I lost a job and couldn’t pay all the rent for three months. I asked for a way to pay you back and you allowed me to work off some of my back rent cleaning out that grubby apartment downstairs, praising me for doing such a good job! You seemed surprised how thorough I was. I was trying to repay you in kind and that meant washing walls! Big Smile!

    Mostly, you always greeted me as a friend when you saw me, over these 40 years later.

    Rest in peace even if the words sound cliche. They are meant with a full heart!

  2. She was my 3rd and 5th Grade Teacher! Loved her such a Sweet Lady! I have thought of often in the yrs since grade school. Ran into her a few yrs ago well visiting NY and she remembered me. I was shocked at that! I will also remember her!

  3. Ruth Sayer was truly a wonderful lady, she was kind, caring and very thoughtful. She cared about the less fortunate and helped them whenever she could. I enjoyed working for her those 14 years. If you needed some advice she would listen and gave good advice back. If something went wrong she would say, “I’ts not the end of the world.” When you went to visit her she always warmly welcomed you. She truly was a good friend, I will always miss her. Rest in peace Ruth.

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