Rozelle Sawyer Middleton
Rozelle Sawyer Middleton
  • September 20, 1931 - November 11, 2017
  • Metairie, Louisiana

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Mary Rozelle Sawyer Middleton, age 86, passed away peacefully on Saturday, November 11, 2017. Rozelle was born on September 20, 1931 in New Orleans to H.A. “Tom” Sawyer and Mary Jessie Sheils Sawyer. She attended Miss Aiken’s School and the Louise S. McGehee School (class of 1949) where she excelled in academics, sports and student government. When recognized as a Distinguished Alumna in 2009, she credited McGehee’s with giving her “all the tools to enjoy a wonderful life to the fullest.” She truly lived the school’s motto of “Noblesse oblige”. Rozelle joined Pi Beta Phi sorority during her college years at Randolph Macon Woman’s College and Newcomb College, before leaving to marry New Orleans native William McLellan ”Bill” Middleton in 1951. They ultimately resided together in New Orleans and Metairie for over 56 years where they raised their three children, Donna, Lisa and Jeff.

A tireless volunteer, Rozelle made special contributions to the lives of her children and the children of others as a Girl Scout Leader and Adult Trainer, a Valencia Coterie advisor, McGehee School Book Week Chairperson and Garden District tour guide for her daughters, Donna and Lisa. She was always in the bleachers to watch Jeff during NOA basketball season. Continuing that tradition, she attended many soccer, baseball, softball and football games to cheer on her grandchildren Sawyer, Alan and Molly at McGehee, Newman and Carrollton Boosters.

Rozelle partnered with her husband in The Middleton Company for over 20 years, while also being an active member of The Audubon Nature Institute, NOMA and a Friend of City Park. A lifetime member of the Orleans Club, she enjoyed serving members by chairing the Flower Committee for many years.

A faithful member and Elder of St. Charles Avenue Presbyterian Church, Rozelle taught Sunday School for many years, organizing children’s Nativity Pageants, serving as a dedicated member of the Membership Committee and the Presbyterian Women’s Noon Circle until her declining health prevented her active participation in recent years. She was recognized as a Lifetime Member in PW in 1995. Rozelle regularly coordinated and hosted New Member Breakfasts and Thanksgiving lunches for out of town college students. In the 1990’s Rozelle found a new passion as a tutor and Site Director for Start the Adventure in Reading (STAIR), a program that identifies high achieving, underserved second graders within the New Orleans Public School system. Through STAIR thousands of children continue to improve their reading skills, their self-esteem and their own futures to this day.

Rozelle was preceded in death by her parents, her husband and her beloved Westies and Corgis. She is survived by her brother, H.A. “Tommy” Sawyer, Jr. (Sally) of Duxbury Massachusetts; her children Donna Middleton Davis (Donald Richard) and William Jeffrey Middleton (Suzanne) of Metairie and Elizabeth “Lisa” Middleton Rider (Michael) of Plano, Texas; her grandchildren Sawyer McLellan Davis, Alan Richard Davis (Olivia) and Mary Shiels “Molly” Davis; nieces Susan Sawyer Matthias and Camille “Missy” Middleton Boughrara, nephews Paul Sawyer, James “Jim” Sawyer, David Sawyer, Mark Middleton, Michael Middleton and Mack Middleton. Also remembered with fond affection are Ann Middleton, Morris Middleton and Rebecca Underwood.

Many thanks for their kindness and care in Rozelle’s last weeks are extended to R&R Home Care, Inc., Home Care Solutions and Passages Sanctuary Hospice.

Services will be held at St. Charles Avenue Presbyterian Church, 1545 State Street, New Orleans, LA 70115 on Friday, November 17 with visitation commencing at 1:00pm, dismissal service at 2:30 pm and concluding at 4:00 pm in Metairie Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, please consider contributions to STAIR (, Presbyterian Women ( or Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (