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Johanna E. Sayre

Johanna E. Sayre of Rosendale and previously New Paltz, passed away Thursday, February 22nd in hospital in Albany after a brief illness.  She was 89.

Born May 4, 1928 in Teschen, Poland to the late Robert and Bertha Türk, Johanna lived in Austria and England after World War 2, before coming to Defiance, Ohio in 1962 for university work.

Johanna married Victor Sayre in 1963; their son Johannes was born the next year.  Johanna pursued her graduate work and PhD in German literature at Syracuse University, living in Syracuse until 1969 when she joined the faculty at SUNY New Paltz.  There, she first taught German language and literature, and then English as a Second Language.  She retired in 1990.

Johanna had wide-ranging interests, and joyful enthusiasm for all of them.  Her most intent pursuit in retirement was piano, which she studied with local teachers and as a devoted follower of the Piano Summer program at New Paltz.  Her cultural background informed both this interest, and also her love of nature, which manifested in her loving tending of her home and properties, and in her sustained participation in environmental causes and organizations.  In the realm of politics, she was an informed and engaged citizen with long life experience and high standards, and had trenchant, sometimes uncomplimentary, insights about current events, actors and trends.

Johanna is survived by her brother Herbert and his three children and their families, and by her son Johannes and his partner Alison and their family.  She will be missed by them and by her caring circle of friends.

A private celebration of her life will be held at a later date.  Friends may consider donating in her memory to the Natural Resources Defence Council, or The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, two causes she cared deeply about.

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