The following obituary was lovingly submitted by the family of Cindy Sawyer
Cindy Michelle Sawyer was born in Oakland, California on July 14, 1964 to Patricia Ann Saunders Sawyer and Walter Allen Sawyer the first of their two daughters. The family moved back near Tampa Florida where her sister Nicole Annette Sawyer Gutierrez was born. Cindy attended local public schools including Buchanan Jr. High School and Leto High School where she was a popular student.
In 1979, while exiting a school bus, Cindy was struck by a car and suffered traumatic brain injury with left side paralysis and multiple other injuries which confined her to a wheelchair for mobility. During an extended hospital recovery period and for 2 decades thereafter she used a breathing tube for ventilation limiting her ability to speak. After leaving the hospital in 1980 she moved in with her Grandmother Betty Jane Graf Saunders as her caregiver and lived in Tampa, Florida during the year with extended trips in the summer to the farm of her Great Aunt Dorothy Graf Hecker in Pennsylvania. Cindy completed her High School Diploma from Chamberlain High school in Tampa in 1985. In 1986, Cindy and Betty moved to Maryland to live with her Uncle James A. Saunders and his wife June M. Gillespie Saunders.
Cindy enjoyed interacting with others especially young children and took great pride in helping to raise the children in the house including Aleen Lynn Saunders Cunningham, Christopher James Saunders and Willow Brook Saunders. She remained close to her sister Nickie and delighted in video chats with her on special occasions. Because Cindy used a breathing tube for so many years, she couldn’t sneeze out her nose until she had the tube surgically removed. As a result, Cindy thought that sneezing was the funniest thing in the world and her sister Nicole would always make her laugh by sneezing whenever they talked. Upon her grandmothers passing in 2001, her mother retired and moved from Florida into the expanded family home in Maryland as Cindy’s caregiver until Patty passed away in 2012. Cindy always had a welcoming smile and enjoyed the attention that she received from her family, friends and caregivers. She was Baptized as an adult and had a strong belief in God and the goodness of people. The family is very grateful for the support received from the state of Maryland and many dedicated caregivers who have allowed Cindy to live in a comfortable home environment with her family over the many years of increasing medical needs.
Cindy is survived by her sister Nicole Gutierrez and her spouse Karla Maria Gutierrez, her Uncles William Earl Saunders, David Edward Saunders and his spouse Mary Mildred Saunders, and James Allen Saunders and his spouse June Marie Saunders and her father Walter Allen Sawyer and his spouse Janet Sawyer. Her surviving cousins include Aleen L. Saunders Cunningham, Christopher James Saunders, and Willow Brook Saunders.
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