Bob Sawyer

February 2010

Bob Sawyer, this year’s recipient of the Lotus Award for outstanding support of Mission Hospice, has three criteria for participating in a cause:

  • Is it worthwhile?
  • Is it rewarding?
  • Is it fun?

“Mission Hospice certainly passed the test for us,” said Sawyer, whose late wife, Ellen, was a longtime board member. “A few years after she died (in 2001), they asked me to serve on the board,” Sawyer recalled. “It caught me by surprise, but it met the same requirements as my longtime work on the Peninsula Hospital District and the Mills-Peninsula Hospital boards. It’s a wonderful and valuable community asset. I get to associate with some really nice people. It’s all pluses.”

Mission Hospice Board President Sheila Young said Sawyer was overdue for hospice recognition. “Bob has been involved with Mission Hospice since its founding more than 30 years ago, and his wisdom, wit and expertise have been invaluable to the organization,” she said. “He has faithfully served the Peninsula for many years through his participation in various charitable and community organizations, and we’re honored to present him with the 2010 Lotus Award.”

Sawyer said Ellen joined the Mission Hospice board to represent the San Mateo Assistance League, which contributed seed money to the new agency. He admits that the only reason he knew what she was talking about when she started was because he’d just seen a television program on hospice during a business trip to England.

Over the years, he accompanied Ellen to a myriad of hospice events. He also witnessed its evolution from a completely volunteer organization to one that is fully staffed with professionals in addition to volunteers.

“Because we’ve had a strong board and excellent employees, we’ve been able to adapt with the changes and grow into the thriving organization we are today,” he said.

Sawyer retired as president of Woodruff-Sawyer & Co. insurance brokers in San Francisco and from several other insurance-related businesses. He is one of the founding directors of the California Healthcare System. He also has served on the boards of the Children’s Health Home (Poplar Center), the Insurance Advisory Committee of the Synod of the Presbyterian Church, and as a governor of the United Way.