Anita Sawyer Presented With A Presbyterian Women’s Honorary Life Membership
Anita Smith Sawyer was born in Opelousas, LA., on September 18, 1939, to Allen Key Smith, Jr. and Isabel Bull. She has three siblings which included two brothers and one sister.
The Smiths lived in Opelousas until 1942, and for two years during World War II, they moved and lived where their father was stationed at Fort Knox, KY. They returned to Opelousas around 1945 and the children attended school there. The family moved again around 1952 to India where their dad, Allen, worked and helped the local farmers with their farming. While there, she and her siblings attended a Catholic Convent School that was operated by Irish nuns. In 1954, they returned to Opelousas and she finished High School in 1957.
Anita started college in the fall of 1957 at L.S.U. and this is where she met her future husband, James Walter Sawyer. They were in the same chemistry lab course together. She graduated with a degree in Dietetics in 1961 and did her Internship at Baylor University Medical Center.
On June 10, 1961, Anita married Jim Sawyer in Springhill, Louisiana, after three years of courtship. They lived in Abbeville, Louisiana, where Jim began his ministry at the First Presbyterian Church of Abbeville. They were there for five years. Anita and Jim had two daughters, Kathryn and Eleanor and they have one granddaughter, Maya Crose.
After the five years at Abbeville, Anita and Jim moved to Port Allen and he served as our Pastor for three years. Anita started working in Baton Rouge as a dietitian at the old Baton Rouge General Hospital from 1970-1978. She also helped Rev. Jim with his Church work and assisted in women’s activities, sang in the Church Choir and helped raise their two children in a Christian home and environment.
In 1973, Anita and family moved to Baton Rouge and Rev. Jim became the founding pastor of Sherwood Presbyterian Church in Baton Rouge. Anita was still working at the BRGH and the girls started attending school. After they both helped build Sherwood’s church community, Rev. Jim served 27 years as their pastor before he retired. In the year 2000, Jim wanted to return to WBR Presbyterian Church and decided to do so as a part time Pastor in Port Allen for 20 more years. They continued to live in their home in Baton Rouge. Anita would have our Women’s Bible Study Group over for supper and the lesson, and would help with our mission projects such as crocheting Prayer Shawls and continued to help Jim with his church work especially after his health started declining.
In 2007, when Jim became blind after back surgery, Anita continued to support and help him and the family adjusted to the changes that affected their lives. She also helped our church make changes so Jim could continue being our pastor for another 14 years.
Thank you, Anita, for your service and caring you have shared with your family and your Church family over the years.