Eric “Rick” Irwin Sayers

Eric “Rick” Irwin Sayers, 73, passed away peacefully at his home on Friday, June 26, 2020. Rick was a big man with a big heart - who loved his wife of over 40 years, was over the moon proud of his son and worked to make his community better.

Rick was a lifelong resident of the Mansfield area. He was one of five children of Alexander I. Sayers & Dorothy E. Thierlein Sayers. Rick graduated high school from Madison in 1964 spending summers working at the family green house.

After high school he went on to attend Ashland College, majoring in accounting and worked in the college theater.

The newly minted accountant went to work at the Ontario General Motors Plant. Like many when he first went for his interview he was greeted at the front desk by Bette J. (Wehinger) Them. Little did he know at the time she would later become his mother-in-law.

Six months into his new job, Rick left to serve his county in Vietnam. During the conflict he primarily worked with the Army’s traveling entrainment show, helping to provide a mental escape for the troops. He at some point was involved in combat and exposed to Agent Orange. Like many he spent a lifetime trying to understand and cope with that period of his life.

He returned back to Mansfield after doing R&R in Japan, and went back to work at GM. Spending evenings and weekends working on productions at the Mansfield Play House.

Rick met and fell in love with Bette’s daughter Cheryl Them. They would marry in 1978 and bought a house off Lexington Ave. It would be the same house they would spend the rest of their lives in. Rick and Cheryl had one son - Devon Maxwell.

Rick loved his family, Christmas, and talking - likely in that order.

From an early age he would celebrate Christmas by putting up a small tree and celebrating the holiday with his sisters in the children rooms before waking up their parents. His displays grew as an adult and for years he would put up a large outdoor display in front of the little brick house on Beechwood, to the delight of the many cars that passed by, and Ohio Edison billing department. After the display became to physically difficult to put up yearly, he turned the limitation in to a positive and donned a red suit to become Santa Claus.

He was a talker, about anything and everything - and as an avid reader and amateur history buff -he could talk. His subject matter ranged from American history, the sciences to the obscure. Material that was conveyed to others in the form of a jeopardy style question, mainly to his son or the number of children that he substitute taught in the Mansfield City School System, after he left GM.

He was civically minded and tried to instill the same in others. He volunteered as a scout leader, and for years helped with the Soap Box Derby. He and his son were some of the first volunteers at the Richland Carousel when it first opened, making and selling popcorn, and eating a fair bit as well. He well also loved to eat, and well never missed a meal. He loved classical music and PBS and supported and advocated for both. Later in life he became involved with the Lexington Senior Civic Center. He enjoyed taking long bus trips with the group around the region. It was something that pleased his desire to travel and for a captive audience.

But his real love was his family, his sisters, his wife, and their son.

He is survived by his wife, Cheryl (Them) Sayers; his son, Devon Maxwell Sayers and daughter-in- law; Laura Ann Sayers; and sisters, Alberta ‘Bert’ Sayers, Katherine E. Bowman, Martha Jean Sayers, Dorothy Lynn Partin.

Due to the ongoing concerns with the Covid-19 Pandemic, the family will be observing private services with burial in Mansfield Memorial Park. Memorial contributions may be made to the Lexington Senior Civic Center. The Diamond Street Home of Wappner Funeral Directors is honored to serve the Sayers family.

Words of comfort may be expressed to the family at

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