Colonel (Ret.) Steven R. “Steve” Sawdey, 72, passed away on November 20th, 2019, after a brief hospitalization at Huntsville Hospital in Huntsville, AL.
Steve was born on September 4th, 1947, in Minneapolis, MN to Russell and Mary Jane Sawdey, who predeceased him. The second oldest of 5 siblings, he grew up in Bemidji, MN and graduated high school there in 1965. In 1969, he was drafted into the United States Army and was sent to Ft. Ord, CA for basic training. While there, he was selected to attend Field Artillery Officer Candidate School at Ft. Sill, OK.
As a commissioned officer, COL Sawdey served tours in Korea and Germany before commanding the 112th Special Operations Signal Battalion at Ft. Bragg, NC during Operation Just Cause. He went on to command the 106th Signal Brigade in Panama and Information Systems Engineering Command at Ft. Huachuca, AZ. He retired in 2000 after serving as the Special Operations Command J6 at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida with 31 years of service.
He spent much of his time in retirement with the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks in Brandon, FL. He especially loved working with disabled Veterans at the James A. Haley Veteran’s Hospital, and helped establish a fundraising program for their Chaplain’s fund. He was also involved in the Elks’ annual kids’ fishing tournament: “Hooked On Fishing, Not On Drugs”. In his free time, he loved to spend time with his family and fish.
He is survived by his adoring wife of 34 years, Deana, his loving daughter Mary Catherine Ballew (Brian), his brothers Stuart and Stan (Mary Beth); sisters Sharon Valdez (Gil) and Susan Whalen (Dan), his many nieces and nephews, and his pride and joy: his grandson Julian.
A memorial service will be held for COL Sawdey on January 19th at the Brandon Elks Lodge. He will be laid to rest with his brothers-in-arms in Arlington National Cemetery on February 6th.
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