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Peter Sawin

Nov. 29, 1938 –– July 5, 2018

Pete E. Sawin died in Joseph after a brief illness. He was born in Brattleboro, Vt., to Bruce E. and Helen Sawin, their only son and considered Corvallis, Ore., his hometown. The family moved west, eventually settling in Corvallis.

After graduating from high school, he worked in Cascades, Oregon and White Salmon, Wash., before being drafted into the U.S. Army. He was stationed in Stuttgart, Germany.

When he returned stateside, he was introduced by his sister to Kay Grotzke, whom he married in 1964. They spent their first year of marriage in the Blue River District along the Mackenzie River before ending up in Wallowa County, where Peter worked for the U.S. Forest Service until he retired in 1988.

Over the years, he fought forest fires, spent time logging and did contract thinning. He and his wife raised five kids. He is remembered by many for making wooden toys and pine cone wreaths. When the grandkids were born, he became “Grumpy” to his “small relations.”

He was preceded in death by his parents, son Bruce D. Sawin and his basset hound Daisy. He is survived by wife Kay Sawin of Joseph, children Beth (Vic) Downs of McMinville, Ore.; Virginia Sawin and Michele Sawin, both of Salem; Jason (Heather Bandeen) Sawin of St. Paul, Minn.; grandchildren Gabby, Victor, Morgan and Zane, his sisters Helen Mae, Marianne and Sally and several cousins and nephews.

Per his request, there will be no services. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation at or to the Forest Service’s Plan-a-Tree program (information at

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