Della Sawyer 1948 - 2020
Della May Elizabeth (Nickason) Sawyer on June 28th , 1948 Dick and Helen Nickason welcomed a baby girl. They named her Della May Elizabeth - after her granny Elizabeth Stevenson and her nana May Nickason. She is a tribute to both of those women. Della was the second child. Her older brother is Leslie (Wilma) and her younger siblings are Eric (d) (Pat); Billy (Grace); Brenda (d) (Barry Ross); Lonnie; Norma (Bill Van Alstine); Cheryl (Ted Spalding); and Mary Ellen (Tim Wright).
Della was raised near Deer Lake on what is now known as Stephenson Road 1 East. When Della married Norm Sawyer on March 27th, 1965, they built a house next door to her mom and dad. They raised three children - David (Diane); Paul (Kelly) and Wendy (Rob Jung) - with plenty of love and laughter. Now they are proud and loving grandparents to 8 grands and 2 great-grands. The love flows in both directions, as the grandchildren love coming for sleepovers. Della’s life has always been fully entwined with family, and that gave her great joy.
Just like her mom, she loved the horses and dogs and chickens that were a part of her country life. From her first horse Chief to her last horse Ebony, she loved to be on and around horses. She looked forward to an annual long-standing tradition to go horseback riding with friends and family every summer. She also loved her German Shepherd dogs many of which she owned over the years . She enjoyed her chickens as well, although we hear that the chickens were more obedient for Norm than Della!
Other outdoors activities that made Della happy were as varied as cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and hiking as well as 4-wheeling and riding motor bikes - from her kids dirt bikes to street bikes. Through more recent years, Della also enjoyed “cousin caper” outings with her loving siblings and cousins. Full of energy and laughter, Della loved to be active outside. More recently, Della and Norm tried their hand at beekeeping and one year their hives produced 180 lbs of honey! They both enjoyed time together on their annual trips to Cuba where they formed lasting friendships with some of the locals there.
Della began working as a teenager at Divine Lake Lodge - lots of teens in the Port Sydney area got their first jobs there. Later, Brenda encouraged her to come to Hidden Hitch, where she started at an entry level job and worked her way up the Human Resource manager. During her 28 or so years at Hidden Hitch, she took many college and university courses that related to her job. During her learning process, Della also reached out to help adults learn to read and she got back a huge amount of enjoyment from helping them learn. After she finished at Hidden Hitch, Della went to work at FanoTech in Bracebridge until she “retired to stay active”.
Della and Norm built a few homes and moved around the Port Sydney and Huntsville area, but never out of it. Their first home was built beside her mom and dad. They built their current home on Stephenson 12 East where she also had the enjoyment of having her horse, her dog, her chickens and her bees there.
Talking about the joys in Della’s life would not be complete without celebrating the great peace she found in her relationship with the Lord. Della was saved in her early teens. Then a few years later she enjoyed many years of fellowship at Deer Lake Gospel Hall until she was no longer able to attend due to health implications . For many years she held a Wednesday afternoon Ladies Bible Study in her home right up until Covid-19 forced the disbanding of many social groups.
Three years ago, Della was diagnosed with PLS (a disease related to ALS - Lou Gehrig’s disease) but instead of wading through details and arming herself with worry for the future, Della concentrated on enjoying every moment that she had, and relying on the Lord to help her through the coming days. She accepted and graciously faced the journey that would lie ahead.
During COVID-19, visitations and funeral services are conducted on a schedule and by appointment only. For those not wishing to attend the funeral service, there will be visitation on Sunday, July 26, 2020 at Billingsley Funeral Home. Scheduled visiting times start at 3:00 p.m. - 3:45 p.m., 4:00 p.m. - 4:45 p.m., 5:00 p.m. - 5:45 p.m., 6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Following provincial guidelines the funeral service will allow a 30% capacity while social distancing measures are observed. The funeral service will take place on Monday, July 27, 2020 at 1 p.m. at Faith Baptist Church. Please call Billingsley Funeral Home at 705-789-8982 to reserve a seat. The interment will take place following the funeral service at Stephenson Cemetery in Port Sydney. The family asks that any memorials be in the form of donations to Huntsville Hospice, where she and her family have received only the best of care from Norma and the palliative care teams. The family is also grateful to Dr. Varieur who even made house calls to Della during COVID-19; to the PSWs who gave such good care; and to Closing the Gap organization. Messages of condolence can be left at www.billingsleyfuneralhome.com
Many thanks to Billingsley Funeral Home for their support. No words can express the appreciation for all the prayers and kindnesses of her Christian family, and to all of her family and friends for their loving care during this difficult time.