Aug. 29, 1956 — Nov. 19, 2018
With great sadness, we announce the passing of Lance Robert Sawrey, 62, who passed away peacefully in his home on Nov. 19, 2018.
Lance was born on Aug. 29, 1956, in Seattle, Washington, to Leonard Edward Sawrey and Hazel Mae Sylvester. The family lived in Seattle for six years, and then relocated to Southern California, where Lance attended Newport Harbor High School. He grew up surfing, playing baseball, and learning to fly the family plane. His father, a retired Navy veteran, flew a PBY in the Korean War and was a commercial pilot, which fueled Lance’s passion and love of aviation.
At the age of 17, Lance enlisted in the Navy during the Vietnam War, and served for four years as a cryptologic technician with tours in Pensacola, Florida, and Guam.
Lance joined the Coast Guard in 1980 as an aviation mechanic, where he flew many search and rescue missions. He began his tour at Air Station Astoria in Oregon, where he met his wife and best friend, Laurie Petersen, a native Astorian. Lance was stationed at several locations around the country, including Air Station Astoria, Oregon, Air Station Barbers Point, Hawaii, and Air Station Brooklyn, New York.
After serving 16 years in the Coast Guard, Lance retired in 1996 in Astoria, Oregon. Following his tenure in the Coast Guard, he worked as a mechanic at Lektro and Clatsop County Public Works. A few years later, he was flying again, as he joined the team at Arctic Air and supported the Columbia River Bar Pilots. He was responsible for hoisting the pilot down to the ship deck, and making sure the helicopter was maintained and ready for dangerous weather conditions. Finally, Lance worked at the Clatsop County Historical Society, where he put his interest in history and woodworking skills to use at the Flavel House Museum, Heritage Museum and the Oregon Film Museum.
In 2015, Lance fully retired and spent his time relaxing in Gearhart and vacationing in Hawaii with Laurie. After living there for several years, Lance developed a deep appreciation for Hawaiian culture and history. He enjoyed spending time with his family, listening to music, clam digging, and riding his motorcycle. Lance was an extremely talented woodworker, and was known to many as the guy who could fix anything.
Lance is survived by his wife, Laurie Sawrey, to whom he was married for 35 years; his daughter, Emma, and future son-in-law, Dustin; his son, Robert, and daughter-in-law, Kylene, and grandchildren Robert, Makaila and Anthony.
Everyone who knew Lance will remember him as a fun-loving, storytelling, down-to-earth guy, and he will be greatly missed. He lived a full life of adventure and love; his memory will live on through those who knew him.
A celebration of life gathering will be held at the Heritage Museum in Astoria on Sunday, Dec. 9, from 1 to 3 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Lower Columbia Hospice or the Clatsop County Historical Society in his name.
Lance will be laid to rest at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific located at Punchbowl Crater in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Hughes-Ransom Mortuary and Crematory is in charge of the arrangements.