Henry Dick Sayer III, architect, civic leader

Posted: November 29, 2011

Henry Dick Sayer III, 72, of Huntingdon Valley, an architect who chaired Willow Grove's tricentennial celebration this year, died of colon cancer on Tuesday, Nov. 22, at home.

Mr. Sayer and his committee spent two years planning the 300th anniversary of Willow Grove's founding. The official opening, a parade down Easton Road, took place May 1, the day he was diagnosed with cancer.

The six-week celebration included a community day, concerts, historical tours, and lectures. Although Mr. Sayer was undergoing surgery and chemotherapy, he was able to attend about 50 events for Willow Grove 300.

He kept his sense of humor and called his illness "an inconvenience," his wife, Susan Motz Sayer, said.

He also chaired the Upper Moreland Historical Commission.

A native of Long Island, N.Y., Mr. Sayer graduated from Garden City High School, where he played football and was an all-county pitcher on the baseball team.

He played baseball at the University of Virginia, where he earned a bachelor's degree in architecture in 1962.

He then served in the Army at Fort Dix.

After his discharge, Mr. Sayer joined the architectural firm of Vincent G. Kling & Associates in Philadelphia and, later, Ballinger Architects & Engineers. From 1978 to 1982, he was vice president of facilities and planning for the former Medical College of Pennsylvania before returning to Kling.

Mr. Sayer was co-owner of PWI Engineering in Philadelphia from 1985 until his retirement in 2000.

During his career, he was project architect for several medical buildings, including Graduate Hospital and St. Christopher's Hospital for Children.

He and his wife were high school sweethearts who married in 1963. They were avid golfers at Huntingdon Valley Country Club, where he served on several committees and was president from 2001 to 2003. They also enjoyed golfing at Farmington Country Club in Charlottesville, Va., his college town and favorite vacation spot.

Mr. Sayer was a baseball enthusiast well beyond his school days. For his 50th birthday, he attended Phillies Dream Week and pitched 18 innings, his wife said.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by sons Stephen and John; a brother; and two grandchildren.

A Funeral Mass will be said at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 29, at Our Lady Help of Christians Church, 1500 Marian Rd., Abington, Pa. 19001. Friends may call from 10 a.m. Burial will be in Whitemarsh Memorial Park, Ambler.

Donations may be made to the church or to Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust, 2955 Edge Hill Rd., Huntingdon Valley, Pa. 19006.

Contact staff writer Sally A. Downey at 215-854-2913 or sdowney@phillynews.com.

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