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Russell Stephen Sayer was born June 30, 1959, and raised in Scituate, Rhode Island. He was involved in the Future Farmers of America while he attended Scituate Jr. Sr. High School and graduated in 1977.  He loved to work with his hands and honed his creative talents in raising fruits and vegetables, often canning and jarring them to make them last through winters. He cultivated his woodworking skills after a year of technical school for carpentry. He used his array of tools to build furniture and work on home building and home remodeling projects. 

Russell married Patricia Daley of Coventry, Rhode Island, in 1986 and had three children; one son died in infancy. Russell held several jobs in the construction industry in Rhode Island and doubled the size of his own home, doing all the woodwork himself.

After his divorce, Russell moved to North Carolina in 2007. The last years of his life were devoted heavily to the success of the Rotary Community Garden of Gastonia. His love of getting his hands dirty and meeting people who loved that, too, will be his legacy. He was proud to not only grow produce but use everything efficiently while cooking. Sharing the garden’s bounty filled his heart, knowing that many people in need were receiving the goods through local nonprofits.

Despite struggles with his health, Russell was eager to volunteer and make friends at the garden. His mother said assisting at the garden was the best thing that happened to Russell in his later years, and a Rotary Community Garden President Brent Messer said, “Rusty was good for the garden, and the garden was good for Rusty.”

Known for his talkative nature, Russell loved to share and hear personal stories. His family has fond memories of his laughter. They will never forget his insatiable appetite as a teenager and his tendency to “bring his work home” from working in the cow barns at the farm down the road.

His spirituality also grew throughout his life. A private worshiper, Russell was truly affected by those around him and would often join them in prayer groups and services. His Bible and his immediate family were by his side when he drew his last breaths.

Russell is survived by: his mother, Nancy Sayer of Sun City Center, Florida.; his son Matthew Sayer, his daughter Colleen Sayer, and former wife Patricia Sayer, all of Scituate, Rhode Island; sister Deb Arscott (husband Dick) of Dedham, Massachusetts; brothers Bob Sayer (Fran) of West Kingston, Rhode Island, and Richard (Samantha) of Meadville, Pennsylvania; and his nieces, nephews and cousins. 

He was predeceased by his father, George Sayer of Sun City Center, Florida; his infant son, Ryan Patrick Sayer; his grandparents Howard and Alethea (Harris) Williams of Scituate, Rhode Island; and grandparents Raymond and Lilian (McCall) Sayer of Charlestown, Rhode Island.

A service was held at the community garden on April 7,  2019 and a memorial has been placed in Russell’s name in a small section the garden. Russell’s family encourages donations in his name to the Rotary Community Garden of Gastonia, PO Box 550515, Gastonia NC, 28055. Gregory Funeral Service handled arrangements, and additional family plans are pending.

Russell Sayer
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  • Monday, April 1, 2019
    Our staff will continue to keep your family in our prayers. We thank you for allowing us to serve your family.
    ~ Gregory Funeral Service
  • Friday, May 10, 2019
    We're so sorry to hear you are suffering the loss of your dear loved one. May you find strength and some comfort in the words found in Nahum 1:7 which reads: ”Jehovah is good, a stronghold in the day of distress. He is mindful of those seeking refuge in him.” Our loving God cares about us and is ready to bring us comfort if we allow him (1John 5:14). He also has made the provision of a resurrection RIGHT HERE ON EARTH when it is restored into a beautiful paradise (Acts 24:15; Isaiah 55:11). Can you see yourself welcoming back to life your dear loved one? Find out more about this resurrection online at JW.ORG
    ~ R&R Lopez