A letter from Charlie's family,

We would like to thank everyone for the outpouring of love and support during this time. Dad was very private about his professional life and we have been amazed at the large impact his life had on so many colleagues and students. He was the consummate conversationalist and academic with unlimited time for giving advice, guidance, and a bit of dry whit. Whether on the tennis court or in the classroom, he will be greatly missed by both his family and friends. Please feel free to share any of your favorite Charlie quotes or stories below.  

On many occasions, he asked family and friends to forgo Christmas or birthday gifts for himself and asked instead for donations to be made to Doctors Without Borders. In that spirit, anyone interested is welcomed to make such a donation in his memory via the link below. 

Donate to save lives | Doctors Without Borders

In lieu of a public memorial service, and in keeping with Charlie's wishes, the family will be holding a small, private ceremony. 
Posted by Kerry Garibay on June 14, 2022
365 days since you played a match with your tennis friends

365 days since you stood on the sidelines watching the kids play a soccer game

365 days since you saved me a Wallstreet Journal article

365 days since I called needing advice

365 days since we talked about inflation and the economy (I'm sure you are cringing from above)

365 days since I hugged your freshly dry cleaned Brooks Brothers button up

365 days since a TX whiskey and perfect margarita at Charleston's

Cheers Daddy. Love you and miss you forever ❤
Posted by Kerry Garibay on February 5, 2022
We celebrated your birthday today dad. But instead of our normal dinner at Charleston's we took some tennis balls and cupcakes to one of the many tennis courts you spent time at. Kaylee, Levi and Macey wrote you a note on balloons and we sent them your way. I hope you got them and are smiling down on us all.
Posted by Akbar Marvasti on February 2, 2022
I miss you my friend. Rest in peace.
Posted by Alejandro Murillo on July 21, 2021
Mi querido profesor, maestro, mentor, y amigo. Dr. Sawyer
I am completely devastated about this, I just received this shocking news… Charlie knew I was in Ecuador and we emailed about the economic situation of Latin America, then the emails stoped, I wished I could’ve been back in Texas to hug him once more, just to sit in his office, and talk about economics, politics, and views…. I was his research assistance, probably his last… and I consider that a privilege.
I graduated and loved economics even more because of Dr. Sawyer, he believed in me, and I wished to share my graduation in 2020 with him… now I hope you can see me be a great economist just like you… just like you told me I could be… thank you for everything Dr. Sawyer.
I will miss you and remember you always!
Posted by Otto Wolfschoon on July 14, 2021
Dr. Sawyer will be greatly missed. As a Latin American student majoring in economics at TCU, it'd be an understatement to say I enjoyed his classes the most. Aside from being an exceptional professor, he was also an impeccable human being. We would often talk before class about Panamanian history and politics, and he'd share several book recommendations.

Professor, thank you for being kind enough to converse with me even after I graduated. May your family find solace in knowing the great impact on so many lives.

Otto Wolfschoon
TCU Class of 2013
Posted by Leonardo van Beek on July 5, 2021
My dear Professor Sawyer has not only been the most influential teacher I had at TCU, but he was also an incredible mentor and a great friend of mine.

Over the years we've had cultivated a very strong friendship and have always kept in touch. Having lunch with him at Charleston's when I visited Texas became a tradition.

You will be missed every day Profesor. Un abrazo hasta el cielo.

I love and admire you and always will.
Posted by Cheryl Clayton on June 26, 2021
Charles was a classmate of mine at Ballinger High School. It was nice to reconnect at a class reunion several years ago at Fredericksburg. Prayers for his family. I made a donation as per his wishes.
Posted by Stefan Giesen on June 22, 2021
We were greatly saddened to receive the news about Charlie and would like to send our condolences to his family and friends.
Charlie was always a reliable and loyal author, editor and friend to us.

De Gruyter Team and Stefan Giesen
Posted by Kathie Calder on June 20, 2021
It was great fun playing doubles with Charlie for so many years, first when the Friday night league was more active and then when it had dwindled down to just four of us. He was speedy on the baseline, good at poaching at the net, and generous on line calls. The only person he ever criticized was himself, often calling himself a hot dog. Off the court, he had a such board range of knowledge and interests. It was wonderful talking to him about books (like anything by Michael Lewis and tennis books like A Terrible Splendor), movies (like Children of Heaven and Amal), music (like Sixto Rodriguez), diet and metabolism, dogs, history, and of course, economics. I so sorry that I did not get a chance to talk to him about the book he gave me recently, an old collection of tennis essays by David Foster Wallace. And I am so sorry that we will not be able to resume our Friday night tennis now that the TCU tennis center is open again.
Posted by David Griffith on June 19, 2021
We will truly miss Charlie at our Monday night tennis games.  Charlie was a guy you respected because he made you feel better about yourself. Charlie was generous, funny yet motivated, and a skilled competitor. Charlie always made time to help you whether the topic was tennis equipment, sports surgery, or stock investing advice. Most importantly, Charlie seemed "balanced" between family and life. I hope can be more like Charlie.
Posted by Steve Quinn on June 18, 2021
In the Economics hallway, there is a hole, a gap, a space that is silent and should not be so. Charlie has been as regular a part of the rhythm of our life as the semester, the weddings and births, the gym, and the midday conversation. He was humor, curiosity, diligence, and wisdom. He kept a tidy desk. 

We will have to learn to carry on, but I do not want to. 
Charlie, You will be missed in many ways for many days.
Posted by Kendra Bowen on June 17, 2021
I will miss chatting about life and work with Charlie out in the hallway at work. One of the nicest most genuine people. He will forever be missed on the 4th floor of Scharbauer Hall!
Posted by Charlie Hanley on June 17, 2021
Dr. Sawyer was my professor for two semesters and he will be dearly missed. His lectures were always entertaining and he provided some really unique viewpoints on the global economic environment. I ran into him a few times outside of school as well and every conversation he left me with a smile on my face. Furthermore, he was always available to meet with students outside of class to help explain concepts and anything a student may have been confused about. Dr. Sawyer was truly one of a kind whose passion for economics can only be matched by the dedication he held for his students.
Posted by Katie Polzer on June 16, 2021
Charlie was such a fixture at TCU and I loved seeing him when he was on one of his walks around campus! Always had a smile, kind word and positive thing to say! He will be so missed and I will miss seeing him on the 4th floor of Scharbauer and having our little chats!
Posted by Mary Harvey on June 16, 2021
Garry Harvey and I hoped so hard Charlie would win his fight and add yet another story to his repertoire! We met Charlie and Diana through our son, John Harvey, quite some years ago and soon became really fond of them both. We so enjoyed our poker nights with Charlie, Diana and mutual friends...none of us experts! Charlie always made time for us old folks and was always a great source of entertainment! His loss will be felt by all who had the pleasure of knowing him. We are so grateful our paths crossed. Our hearts go out to Diana and all the family and friends.
Posted by Ola Bodurka Kirk on June 16, 2021
Dr. Sawyer taught one of the very first classes I took at TCU - an Honors section of macroeconomics in the fall of 2011.

I remember his enthusiastic illustrations of economics principles and his example product of choice... Peanut butter. He always talked about economics in terms of peanut butter. So, the class conspired and, when the semester came to a close, each classmate and I walked up to hand in our exams... And a jar of peanut butter. I remember his initial confusion with the first jar, and the subsequent chuckles with each additional jar as the stack on his lectern grew.

I also remember his enthusiastic expressions in class and how he tended to wriggle his eyebrows and say, "Stay tuned..." each time he talked about market uncertainties as a result of the Great Recession. Between the eyebrows and his characteristic mustache, Dr. Sawyer always made me think of a schnauzer (my favorite kind of dog)... So, when I adopted a miniature schnauzer in 2015, I already had a name picked out... Sawyer.

Ola Bodurka Kirk
TCU Class of 2015
Posted by Tibor Besedes on June 16, 2021
I first met Charlie in 2002 when he interviewed me for a position at Southern Miss. I then ran into him at the Southern Economic Association conference right around the time he went to TCU, my alma mater. We ended up running into each other once or twice a year at various conferences, in addition to a few visits to TCU. Few of those meetings at conferences were planned, but our paths invariably crossed. It was one of those things one could count. Running into Charlie and ending up chatting for an hour or two.

It was always great to talk to him and soak up some of his wisdom. The raised eyebrow accompanied by a wide smile was a trademark of his.

I'll miss seeing him and enjoying his company.

My sincere condolences to his family, friends, and the TCU community. His presence will be missed.

Tibor Besedes
Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology
TCU class on 1998
Posted by Pompeo Della Posta on June 16, 2021
I was shocked in learning of Charles’s passing.
I met him on my first ITFA conference, at the beginning of the 2000s and since then I have met him almost regularly once per year at the annual meetings of our association.
He was very open and friendly, and at the same time very rigorous in his knowledge of Economics. As editor of the Global Economy Journal, for example, I remember that once he spelled out in full detail the elements that an article on the process of European integration to be submitted to the GEJ should contain, in order to have the highest chances of being accepted by the referees.
His dedication to ITFA is testified, among many other examples, by the fact that last year he wrote me saying that he would be available to step in as presenter in the ITFA session that I had organized with the Società Italiana degli Economisti Annual conference, in Italy, if not enough presenters were available. In the end it was not necessary, but it was a relief to know that he was backing the initiative.
His friendly smile and his smart insights will be sorely missed. My sincere condolences to the family.
Pompeo Della Posta
(Università di Pisa, 2019 ITFA President)
Posted by Richard Sprinkle on June 15, 2021
I first met Charlie in a Microeconomics class at the University of Arkansas in 1978. Little did I know at the time that he would become one of my best friends for the next 40 plus years. After both of us graduated, he went to Southern Mississippi and I to UTEP. Virtually every paper, journal article and book I worked on and published Charlie was listed as a co-author. He was a wonderful colleague and scholar. We spent many hours on the phone and at conferences discussing what to do next and he never ran out of ideas. After I left academia, we would meet periodically at Charleston’s for dinner and a couple of drinks. During those get togethers, we talked about our families and where we were going in the future. I will truly miss those conversations. He was a rudder to help steer me through both my academic and private sector life. He will be missed.

Lisa and I offer heartfelt condolences to the entire family. May God Bless.
Posted by Johnny Nhan on June 15, 2021
I am still in shock and deeply saddened by Charlie's passing. I will miss him being at the office and hallway every day and even on the weekends. He was genuinely one of the kindest and most wonderful people I have ever met.
Posted by Gisella Haidar on June 15, 2021
I met Dr. Sawyer when I was a sophomore at TCU. I was undecided about what I wanted to study, and was considering majoring in economics. Someone at the Econ Department suggested that I spoke with Dr. Sawyer to see if an econ degree made sense for me. I remember going into his office for what I thought would be a 30-minute meeting, but ended up being there for almost an hour and a half. A few days later, I declared econ as my major. That’s the kind of person Dr. Sawyer was. He truly cared for his students and always took the time to get to know us. All conversations with him were always fascinating and he had so much knowledge and wisdom to impart. He was first an advisor, then one of my favorite professors, and then a mentor. He will be greatly missed, not just by myself but also by the entire TCU community.

My deepest condolences to Dr. Sawyer's family. I am praying for your peace and comfort during these most trying times.

Gisella Haidar
TCU Class of 2012
Posted by W. David Allen on June 15, 2021
I offer heartfelt condolences on the passing of Charlie Sawyer, a fellow economist, Arkansas alum, sports fan, and a research collaborator of mine in recent years. I will always remember great, thoughtful conversations filled with laughter, and that fantastic smile as big as Texas. Thank you, Charlie. 
Posted by IRENE FINEL-HONIGMAN on June 15, 2021
I was tremendously sad to learn of Charles passing.
He was an integral part of our ITFA community, a highly respected professor, a charming, gracious and kind colleague and friend. I met him many years ago, introduced by the late Professor Max Kreinin who mentored so many of us.
Joining us in so many events, receptions and dinners, we appreciated his gentle wit, his insights and intellectual generosity.
Charles was truly a gentleman and a scholar. He will be deeply missed and remembered with gratitude.
Posted by Keith Bennett on June 15, 2021
I grew up spending a lot of weekends and summers at the Sawyer house, so I knew Mr. Sawyer for most of my life. I always admired his intelligence and humor, and he was always had something interesting to add to any conversation. He will be missed. My sincere condolences go out to the entire family. God Bless.
Posted by Tom Fullerton on June 15, 2021
Charlie was one of the best co-author colleagues I ever had the good fortune to know. Aside from our various formal projects, he used to make me laugh with his stories about his high school adventures on the gridiron and all of the future NCAA D1 players he had to face, sometimes successfully. When he invited me to speak at TCU, I brought my youngest son to see the campus. Right before the noon time presentation, Charlie offered Brett his faculty ID card and told him that he could eat whatever he wanted at any restaurants on campus. To this day, Brett is convinced that Charlie is one of the greatest academics in the history of Texas. Hasta la vista, Carlos!
Posted by Paige Lewis on June 15, 2021
I had the privilege of taking Dr. Sawyer's classes while studying at TCU and he was one of the most impactful people I encountered during my time as a student. Dr. Sawyer cared deeply about his students, taking the time not only to teach economics but to encourage thoughtful and meaningful curiosity for all subjects academic and otherwise.

I remember walking into class one day and Dr. Sawyer was outside the building, I stopped to say hello and grab a newspaper and he saw a pack of cigarettes in the side pocket of my backpack (as many a naive college student possessed during the time). Laughing, he took them and promptly put them in the trash can, telling me they were unhealthy, that I was far too smart to actually smoke these and that he was looking forward to seeing me in class.

I was in one of Dr. Sawyer's classes my last semester and had to schedule taking our final early. I remember going to his office to take the test and he asked what my post-graduate plans were. I told him about traveling to Iceland, after heading back home to California to spend some time with family before figuring out my next move. A few days later I had an email in my inbox with a job listing in Dallas that fit my ideal background in both economics and political science. Dr. Sawyer simply said, "I would encourage you to apply for this" and included his contact information to add as a reference on my resume. I worked there for 3.5 years, starting only a few weeks after graduation. I can say without a doubt that Dr. Sawyer's support changed my life and afforded me some of the most exciting opportunities a young professional could hope for.

My deepest condolences to Dr. Sawyer's family and the TCU community. His impact cannot be understated and he will be deeply missed by so many. It was an honor to know him in any capacity.

Paige Peabody Lewis
TCU Class of 2013
Posted by Joseph Pelzman on June 15, 2021
I am deeply saddened by the news of Charlie’s passing. My sincere condolences to his family!

Charlie and I met in the early 1980s when he wrote a comment on one of my articles and we became good friends after that. We would meet at our annual ASSA and ITFA meetings like clockwork.  Both of us shared many similarities from our past. We both worked on international trade issues. He was my predecessor as Managing Editor of the Global Economy Journal. I have been using his trade book in my classes at GWU since its first publication.

The news of his passing is a shock. We just spoke a few weeks ago as I asked him to review a number of papers for our journal.

As a member of our ITFA community he was incredibly generous with his time, always ready to help and support the institution we supported since the early 1980s.

He will be missed by me and the entire ITFA community.

Joseph Pelzman
Professor of Economics, International Affairs and Law
George Washington University
Posted by Cesar Rodriguez on June 15, 2021
It is with great sadness that I write this note after Charlie’s passing. I offer my sincere condolences to Diana, the entire family, and the TCU community.

I met Charlie in 2015, first at a conference as a colleague, and immediately as a friend, a mentor, and co-author. It is not easy to summarize how Charlie touched our lives. He was incredibly generous sharing his knowledge and life experience. We would talk about Latin America for hours, Charlie was always on top of the latest development and understood the challenges of the region with a clarity rarely found.

During my years as an assistant professor, Charlie helped me immensely. By pushing for the big picture, making sure my research agenda had a meaning, and sharing the tricky details of this profession. His perspective was always enlightening. As an associate professor, Charlie would remind me to keep helping and mentoring others the way we got helped. I benefited significantly from him.

We were at the final stages of our new book when he felt ill. He had this idea for many years, and I’m glad I was there to be part of it. It has been an immense honor to co-author with Charlie on a project I believe was so close to his heart.

Over the years we developed a nice routine of meeting up for dinners during the WEAI and the SEA conferences. I will miss him dearly. Rest in peace my friend.

Cesar M Rodriguez
Associate Professor
Portland State University
Posted by Brent Hewitt on June 15, 2021
There are a lot of moments I could mention from the time I spent in Dr. Sawyer’s classes, but what I am going to remember most about him is the heart he had for those in need. He taught that what was learned in the classroom was not only supposed to exist in the theoretical. Instead, this knowledge should be used to enact positive change and speak up for those whose voices are not being heard.

He also was there, not only to answer questions about the lecture material, but to provide life advice, as well. He was always kind, honest, and straight to the point. You would also know when he would deliver big advice because it came with an eyebrow raise and what I can only describe as a knowing smile.

All in all, I am going to miss him and am so thankful that he has been a part of my life.
Posted by Sammy Bass on June 15, 2021
I was the Econ admin until last year, and got to know Charlie well. He was always so kind to me. He was a very generous spirit and never met a stranger. He gave money to housekeeping every Christmas and bought my daughter's Girl Scout cookies for the whole department every year. He was a fixture in Scharbauer Hall. His presence, book recommendations, and smile in the hall will be missed. I'm so sorry for your loss. He will be so missed.
Posted by Rachel Parriott on June 15, 2021
i had the privilege of taking classes with professor sawyer my last two semesters of college. he was by far the best professor i’ve had not just in college but in my academic career. i am extremely grateful for his knowledge and wisdom and his passion for his areas of study. my deepest condolences go out to his family. i am praying that you feel covered by the Lord during this time and surrounded by love from those closest to you.
Posted by Kiril Tochkov on June 15, 2021
I am deeply saddened by the news of Charlie’s passing. My sincere condolences to his family!

Charlie was for me a beloved colleague, a dear friend, a mentor, a co-author. He was incredibly generous with his time, always ready to help and support you. I respected him very much and benefited greatly from his wisdom and life experience.

Although he was a chaired professor and the most senior member of the faculty, Charlie was humble and loved self-depreciating jokes. He disliked pomp, vanity, and arrogance, and was genuinely a nice and friendly person.

As a native Texan, he was fond of telling me stories about his youth in a small town full of German and Czech immigrants. But he was also a true international economist who followed world affairs closely and possessed deep knowledge of global political and economic developments.

On countless occasions, we would start a casual chat in the hallway, which would then turn into an hour (and sometimes even two hour) conversations on topics that ranged from the marvels of German engineering (he loved his Volkswagen) and Venezuela’s disastrous economic policies to salary compression in academia and local politics in Fort Worth. I learned so much from him!

We have co-authored several papers and among them is my most-cited publication. In fact, just a few days before he fell ill, Charlie wrote to congratulate me on a recent publication of mine, which was based on his earlier work. He told me he had an idea for a new collaborative project and we agreed to talk in more detail when we see each other next time.

I volunteered to take over the International Trade class that Charlie was supposed to teach in the fall. Although I have some very big shoes to fill, I know that Charlie’s friendship and wisdom will continue to inspire me long after his passing.

He will be sorely missed! May he rest in peace!

Kiril Tochkov
Professor of Economics
Texas Christian University
Posted by Akbar Marvasti on June 14, 2021
This is a very sad news. I am terribly sorry to hear it. Charlie was a friend and a colleague. I have known Charlie for decades. I met him while he was a visiting professor at LSU at the beginning of his career. He was always kind and supportive. We use to meet at Economic conferences for dinner and drinks. He loved to play tennis. Above all, he loved his family. He always proudly spoke about his children. In recent years his attention was diverted to his grandchildren. Charlie was also dedicated to his classes and research. I will miss him.
Posted by John Harvey on June 14, 2021
I first met Charlie somewhere around 1987, when I was finishing up my PhD. My dissertation coordinator, Don Clark, knew Charlie and he said that Charlie was working on something that might be useful in my work. So my very first contact with him was citing his research in my dissertation!

Thereafter and for many years, I would run into Charlie at conventions and we would always stop and chat, but that was the extent of our contact–that is until 2006. Our econ department had been given a chaired professorship and, to my surprise and delight, Charlie applied. Starting in the fall of 2007, he became the inaugural Hal Wright Professor of Latin American Economics! Charlie did an awesome job with the position and willingly set out on new paths in his research so that he could bring more relevant information and analysis to the students in the classroom. Charlie was an accomplished researcher and a popular and effective teacher. Indeed, his classroom presentation during his interview was one of the best I have ever seen.

I have many fond memories of Charlie. He was extremely well-read and taught me quite a bit about naval warfare in the age of sail. He–the only Texan in our department–also knew a lot of Texas history, including where some of the best-preserved frontier forts were. I really enjoyed a story he used to tell on himself about his first semester at St. Mary’s in San Antonio. He said he had been told that in order to earn an A, you had to have a 95 or above in a course. He figured they were joking–surely it’s 90 or above! Nope. He said he really had to take it up a notch after that! We had a poker group some years back in which Charlie and Diana participated, and something we all quickly learned about Charlie was that he would fold hand after hand–and if he didn’t fold, you’d better! If Charlie stays in, he’s got four aces!

Charlie never took himself too seriously, he was an well-respected scholar, he had a devoted following among our students, and he was a good colleague and friend. He will be sorely missed. Melanie and I send our heartfelt condolences to the family.

John and Melanie Harvey

Leave a Tribute

Recent Tributes
Posted by Kerry Garibay on June 14, 2022
365 days since you played a match with your tennis friends

365 days since you stood on the sidelines watching the kids play a soccer game

365 days since you saved me a Wallstreet Journal article

365 days since I called needing advice

365 days since we talked about inflation and the economy (I'm sure you are cringing from above)

365 days since I hugged your freshly dry cleaned Brooks Brothers button up

365 days since a TX whiskey and perfect margarita at Charleston's

Cheers Daddy. Love you and miss you forever ❤
Posted by Kerry Garibay on February 5, 2022
We celebrated your birthday today dad. But instead of our normal dinner at Charleston's we took some tennis balls and cupcakes to one of the many tennis courts you spent time at. Kaylee, Levi and Macey wrote you a note on balloons and we sent them your way. I hope you got them and are smiling down on us all.
Posted by Akbar Marvasti on February 2, 2022
I miss you my friend. Rest in peace.
his Life

The Life of Charlie Sawyer

Charlie was born in Houston, TX to William Clayton Sawyer and Mildred Sawyer Bradley in 1953.  His family lived in several places including Dallas, Louisville and San Antonio before settling in Ballinger, TX where Charlie attended the majority of his childhood school years.

Charlie began his higher education at St. Mary's University in San Antonio where he received both his bachelors and masters in Economics.  He would later go on to receive his Ph.D. in Economics at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

While at the University of Arkansas, Charlie started his teaching career as an instructor between 1977 and 1982. However, the majority of his teaching career was at the University of Southern Mississippi where he taught and mentored students for over 24 years. During this time he helped raise two children and saw the birth of his first grandchild.

In 2007, Charlie led the family charge to Texas by accepting a teaching position at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, TX where he held the notable position of Hal Wright Professor of Latin American Economics. The family soon followed, adding two more grandchildren and several more rescue dogs in the following years. 

Charlie's life was rich both professionally and personally. A lifelong tennis player and avid gym-goer it was often joked that he boasted the best health in the family. His discipline and drive will not soon be forgotten. 

Charlie is survived by his sister Jean Collins, loving wife of 42 years Diana and children Kyle and Kerry.  Charlie also leaves behind three grandchildren Kaylee (14), Levi (7) and Macey (4).

Academic Impact

Throughout his long and distinguished career, Charlie was also involved with several economics organizations including the International Trade and Finance Association of which he was a board member. Long time colleague and friend Alex Velez had this to say about Charlie's impact in the area of Latin American economics.

"Besides economics and international trade, our strongest bond was our interest in Latin America and its travails and challenges. We spent many hours waxing and waning over the phone, whenever I could catch him given his busy schedule. While we decried Latin America‘s slow and turbulent path upward, Charlie never tired of providing impeccable crafted analysis of the region in his classic textbooks. The profundity that he tackled issues like import substitution industrialization was unparalleled.

He felt very strongly that economics was a key to both understanding and remedying the region’s problems. He was never sure Latin American governments would pay much attention but his textbooks became seminal works in the understanding of the Latin American problématique. He was by no means a naïve theorist. His  treatment of Latin America colonial economic history and its bearing today was simply masterful. I was a great benefactor as a teacher as were readers of his work."
Recent stories
Shared by Alejandro Velez on June 19, 2021

We share a life long interest in Latin America and its travails and challenges. We spent many hours waxing and waning over the phone, whenever I could catch him given his busy schedule. While we decried Latin America‘s slow and turbulent path upward, Charlie never tired of providing impeccable crafted  analysis of the region in his classic textbooks.

He informed my mind and touched my heart. This, I will treasure forever. Alex.