Raymond A. Sawyer died at home in Provincetown of natural causes, surrounded by his family, on Nov. 10, 2021. His death was confirmed by his daughter Shannon. He was 84.
Born to the late Edgar F. and Mary (Avila) Sawyer on June 21, 1937, Raymond was a fifth generation Provincetown native. He attended Provincetown Vocational School and loved working with his hands.
He was primarily a stone mason for most of his life, but he also did carpentry and painting. He painted the cross on the ceiling of the old St. Peter the Apostle Church, which had been built in 1874 and burned down in January 2005. While the church was being painted, Eugene Sparks was working on a mural behind the altar. He asked Raymond to pose for his rendition of the apostle St. Peter.
Raymond specialized in domestic masonry. His stonework is still visible in many of the stone walls around town and a number of private homes.
He was a proud volunteer for the council on aging, and he especially enjoyed helping with the Meals on Wheels program.
Throughout his life, Raymond loved nature. “He would always take these long, crazy walks,” said Shannon. A childhood friend named Donald would visit in the summer and join him, she remembered, as he walked on the “back beaches from Provincetown to Truro.”
Shannon recalled how her father would play with the neighborhood kids when she was growing up. “There were a number of single moms in the neighborhood,” she said, and Raymond would spend hours teaching their kids how to play football. On hearing of Raymond’s death, said Shannon, several of those now-grown children have written to share fond memories of him.
Raymond is especially remembered for his quick wit and deadpan humor. “He was always laughing,” his daughter said.
Raymond is survived by his wife, Marlene Sawyer of Provincetown; son Michael Canterbury of Jupiter, Fla.; daughters Laura Parker of Wellfleet and Shannon Sawyer Patrick of Provincetown; and a sister, Roberta McKay, of Provincetown. Grandchildren Shelby Canterbury of Washington state, Emma Canterbury of New York, and Nicolas and Eli Patrick of Provincetown also survive him.
He was predeceased by his siblings, Edie, Edgar Jr., Carl, and Shirley.
Calling hours will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 23 at the Gately Funeral Home, 94 Harry Kemp Way, Provincetown. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Nov. 24 at St. Peter the Apostle Church, 11 Prince St., Provincetown, and burial will follow in St. Peter’s Cemetery.
An online guestbook for expressions of condolence for the family may be found at gatelyfuneralservice.com.