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Barbara McGahie Sawyer

Barbara Sawyer died January 29th at Cottage Hospital, Santa Barbara, following a brief illness. She was 87 years old.

The daughter of Robert and Louisa McGahie, Barbara was born and grew up in San Francisco, where she attended Lowell High School. She met Brooke, her husband of 66 years, at the University of California, Berkeley, where she became a lifelong member of the Delta Delta Delta Sorority.

Following graduation from Cal, Barbara and Brooke began their married life on the family citrus and avocado ranch in Santa Paula, California, spending summers with their three children at a family home in Santa Barbara. During their lives together, they resided also in Davis and Claremont before settling full-time in Santa Barbara in 1977.

Barbara led an active life as a wife, mother, grandmother, and bookkeeper-manager for family farming operations, and she worked in Santa Barbara as a tax specialist with the State Franchise Tax Board and H&R Block Company. She was an avid tennis player, hiker, skier, sailor, and world traveler. Whether sailing the Santa Barbara Channel Islands with Brooke in their cutter, the Mary Powell, camping in the Yosemite high country, or touring Europe or the South Seas, she always had a sense of adventure. Cal continued to be a large part of Brooke’s and her life through annual vacations at its Lair of the Golden Bear alumni family camp, and trips north to root for the Golden Bears at Big Game.

Barbara was a faithful and active member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church of Santa Paula, St. Martin’s of Davis, St. Ambrose of Claremont, and All Saints by the Sea of Montecito, where she served as Senior Warden, 1984 to 1986. Her activities in the community included the Little Town Club, the Santa Barbara Yacht Club, the Museum of Natural History, and the St. Cecilia Society.

Barbara was preceded in death by her beloved sister Eleanor (“Nini”) McGahie. She is survived by her husband Brooke, her sons and daughters-in-aw Robert and Alison, Andrew and Carol Bingham, and Peter and Donna Jones, and her grandchildren Jessica (Robert Gwilliam), Sarah (Alain Mathaukot), Martin, Ruth, Katherine and Kristin.

Family and friends are invited to a memorial service for Barbara to be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday March 1st at All Saints by the Sea Episcopal Church, 83 Eucalyptus Lane, Montecito CA 93108, with a reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, donations in Barbara’s memory may be made to the St. Cecilia Society of Santa Barbara.

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