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Deven Sawyer, 17-Year-Old Student Killed In Argentina, Laid To Rest


Nearly every pew inside Myers Park Presbyterian Church was filled Tuesday as family, friends, and acquaintances celebrated the life of Deven Lewis Sawyer, 17.

Sawyer, who would have turned 18 this month, died on June 23, days after he was injured in a bus accident while studying abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The rising Providence Day senior was remembered Tuesday as a young man embedded with a strong moral compass and a healthy sense of humor, a person who was passionate about his interests, and compassionate to those around him.

The service was presided over by the Rev. Michelle Thomas-Bush, with readings from the books of Isaiah and 1 Corinthians, and from "The Unfinished" by Viktor Emil Frankl and "The Little Prince" by Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

Speaking to the congregation, a friend of Sawyer's recalled how, after a group of friends erroneously won a free game of laser tag, Sawyer's conscience weighed on him and drove him to inform employees of the error.

"Not suprisingly, the employee didn't care, but Deven felt better knowing that he had tried," the friend said.

Sawyer's brother, Dillon, said he wished to believe Deven was still in Argentina, but that he knew he was in a better place, one with his grandfather and uncle. He said he would miss seeing Deven's graduation or wedding, but that he "would still guard the Ritz crackers and blueberry muffins" that his brother was constantly eating.

Lee Tappy, dean of students at Providence Day School and a personal friend of the family, recalled how Sawyer had recently recovered from a post-cerebral artery stroke he'd had as a sophomore in 2016.

"He came back from being knocked down, and he was demonstrating daily that this was the embodiment of the type of person we should all strive to be, living the life that we should all strive to live," he said, "I will never forget that we were here, and we were blessed enough to witness Deven's victory lap."

Sawyer's obituary described him a passionate tennis player, a volunteer, and a student ambassador. He was also an avid Chicago Bears and Carolina Panthers fan who enjoyed blackberries, spinach dip, and mint chocolate chip ice cream.

"Deven was a quiet force whose compassion always led him to see the good in everyone, even when others could not," the obituary read, "He was truly a warm-hearted soul who always found ways to put others' needs before his own."

Sawyer is survived by his parents, Steven and Smita; his brother, Dillon; and his extended family.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that gifts be made to the Deven Sawyer Memorial Fund at Providence Day School via www.providenceday.org/memorialfund.