Age 84, died peacefully on July 20, 2020 at Springbrook Senior Living in La Crescent, MN with his family at his bedside. He was born on May 18, 1936 to Rowe and Esther (Gratz) Sawle at the family farm near the town of Arena, WI. He was a graduate of Arena High School class of 1954, where he enjoyed playing football, basketball and baseball. He joined the U.S. Navy immediately upon graduation, proudly serving as a submariner aboard the U.S.S. Wahoo SS-565 from 1954-1957.
Roger married Janice (Reeve) on April 11, 1959. He is survived by his wife Janice, daughters Sherry Sawle of La Crosse, WI, Marcia (David Klein) also of La Crosse, Nanette (Richard Nelson) of Excelsior, MN, Angela (Sam Finkelstein) of Los Angeles, grandsons Jeremy “Jem” Nelson of Chicago and Riley Nelson of Brooklyn, NY, brother Roscoe Sawle and sister Sandra Luedtke. He was a favorite of his many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, and brothers William, Charles, and Van.
Roger was kind to all, honest, grateful, open-minded, selfless, considerate and dependable. He was interested in others and made everyone feel important. He was a warm, caring and funny dad who loved and was so proud of each of his daughters, supporting and encouraging them in their endeavors throughout their lives. He adored his two grandsons and was exceptionally proud to be their grandpa.
Always willing to give a helping hand to friends, neighbors or strangers, his toolbox was constantly with him. He could build or fix anything and created a campground on their land near Arena with the help of Janice and friends and family. He grew produce which he sold at his fruit stand and was particularly adept at growing watermelons in the sandy soil. In his later years he was still growing excellent watermelons and once donated an entire crop to the local food pantry.
Roger spent many hours volunteering at his church, delivering Meals on Wheels, and even traveled to New Orleans with Janice to help with the Hurricane Katrina cleanup. For over 25 years, until his retirement in 1999, he was indispensable as a maintenance mechanic at UW-La Crosse and was dedicated to the students he served.
His girls have fond memories of family vacations spent camping, or driving to various national parks and cities, with him singing in his fine voice to entertain them. In his retirement he and Janice had many adventures traveling together, particularly enjoying Florida, and made it to every state except Alaska.
Roger read anything from the comics to Maya Angelou, loved dogs and watching any sport. He was a Badger, Packer, Cub, Brewer and college basketball fan. He also enjoyed watching the Holmen H.S. and UWL track teams. There will be a private graveside service with a Celebration of Life to follow at a later date. The family wishes to thank Dr. Michael Dolan at Gundersen Clinic, Springbrook Village of La Crescent and St. Croix Hospice for their outstanding care.
To send a flower arrangement to the family of Roger M. Sawle, please click here to visit our Sympathy Store.
To plant Memorial Trees in memory of Roger M. Sawle, please click here to visit our Sympathy Store.