Judy Sawyer, 74, died peacefully May 7 surrounded by her loved ones at Sentara Albemarle Medical Center in Elizabeth City, N.C. Born Dec. 1, 1947, Judy was raised in Euclid, Minn., and graduated in 1965 from the Northwest School of Agriculture in Crookston, Minn. She married Robert John Kotrba of Tabor in 1968 and raised three children as a hard-working Navy wife, making her home in various locations across the country and world such as Rota, Spain; Bremerton, Wash.; San Diego, Calif.; the U.S. territory of Guam; Great Lakes, Ill.; and Virginia Beach, Va. Judy enjoyed working with animals and was a veterinary technician and manager at Animal Care Center in Hampton Roads, Va., for 10 years in the 1980s and 1990s. Years after she and Robert divorced, Judy met the love of her life, Everett Sawyer, in 1992, with whom she spent the next 30 years side by side as best friends, business partners and spouses, marrying in 2000 in North Carolina, joining two families—hers and the Sawyers’—into one. Judy and Everett built several businesses from the ground up, including a gas station and convenience store in South Mills, N.C., and North River Campground in Camden County, N.C. Judy had a keen sense of bookkeeping and was proficient with finances. The couple enjoyed rehabilitating old houses, traveling across the country visiting with friends and family, dancing at the Moose Lodge, playing dominoes, spending time with her two beloved Boston Terriers—Zelda and Juliette—and gaming at Rosie’s.
Judy is preceded in death by her father and mother, George and Elaine (Zespy) Ovsak, and survived by her husband, Everett Sawyer; her daughters, Dr. Bobbi Kotrba and Beverly (Sawyer) Bengies; sons Adam and Ron Kotrba, and Elton and Roger Sawyer; grandsons Josh, Matthew and Jacob Kotrba, Nathan Griffith, Matthew and Logan Sawyer, and Ryan Bengies; granddaughters Julianne and Danielle Griffith, Izabella Kotrba, April (Bengies) Philbrick, Dara (Sawyer) Preston; great-granddaughters Olivia and Ella Fisher, and Kenna Preston; great-grandsons Noah Fisher, Tanner Philbrick and Walker Preston; sisters Georgia (Ovsak) Rud, June (Ovsak) Stevens; and brothers Gary and Gene Ovsak. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Judy’s honor to the American Lung Association.
No services are planned at this time. Twiford Funeral Home, 405 East Church Street, Elizabeth City, NC 27909 is serving the family of Judy Sawyer. Online memorial condolences may be sent to the family at www.TwifordFH.com. To plant a tree in memory of Mrs. Sawyer, please visit www.TwifordFH.com/send-flowers.