The YWCA is deeply saddened by the loss of former YWCA Director and Board President, Louise Sawyer




Gone but Never Forgotten………


On March 7, 2018, former YWCA Director and Board President, Louise Sawyer died one day shy of her 98th birthday.

A memorial service will be held in her honor on March 24, 2018 at 1:00 pm at the First Unitarian Church New Bedford in Union and 8th streets New Bedford. All friends and family are invited to attend.

Louise Sawyer, was the daughter of the late Raymond and Gertrude Cook. She was also the former wife of the late Hermon Reneau Sawyer and mother of Virginia O’Leary and Philip Sawyer.

Louise Sawyer’s journey with the YWCA began in the early years of her life. Her mother volunteered at the YWCA for many years before Louise became an adult.  Louise took swimming lessons at the YWCA as a young girl and volunteered along side her mother.

Down the road, Louise graduated from Smith College, Phi Beta Kappa with a major in Spanish, then studied abroad in at the University of Puerto Rico.  She and her children lived in Brazil for nine years with her late ex-husband, Hermon Reneau.

She left Brazil with her two children and returned to New Bedford where she worked for the YWCA as a Program Director for nine years. She was also a case worker for abused children for the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (MSPCC) for twenty-seven years. She also worked as family counselor which she found very rewarding.

During her time as Program Director at the YWCA, she organized various programs that served the community such as the Homemakers Holiday Program, swimming program schedules, tennis classes, bridge classes for women, and the Single Parents Program. The Single Parents Program helped men and women who were single parents learn how to solve the problems involved in raising a child alone.

She also served as the YWCA Board President from 1973-1974 and retired in 1987. Louise went on to volunteer at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. She became a founding member of the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Southeastern Massachusetts in the 1970s and helped gained 400 members in the area and lowered Funeral costs.

Louise also served on the committees for the First Unitarian Church and wrote newsletters.

The YWCA will miss Louise and honor all she has done for the community and the empowerment of women.