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James Richard Sawers Jr., Ph.D.

James Richard Sawers Jr., Ph.D.
  • February 4, 1940 - March 21, 2017
  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to:
  • Bethel United Methodist Church, Music Fund
    57 Pitt Street
    Charleston, SC 29401

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“Rev. Wachter used the term "Renaissance Man" to describe Jim this morning. That characterization stuck with me as I left the sanctuary this...Read More ยป
1 of 1 | Posted by: Rob Dillon - Charleston, SC


James "Jim" Richard Sawers, Jr., Ph.D., 77, of Charleston, South Carolina the beloved husband of Estelle "Bunny" Johnson Dukes died Tuesday, March 21, 2017, at the Medical University of South Carolina. His Funeral Service will be held Friday, March 24, 2017, at 11:30 a.m. in Bethel United Methodist Church, 57 Pitt Street. The family will receive friends Thursday, March 23, 2017, from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the J. Henry Stuhr, Inc., Downtown Chapel, 232 Calhoun Street.

Jim was born February 4, 1940, in Memphis, Tennessee, son of the late James Richard Sawers and Mary Drown Sawers. In 1962 he graduated with Bachelors of Science in Physics and Mathematics with Honors from Duke University in Durham, NC, where he was an Angier B. Duke scholar. In 1966, he received a Ph.D. from Duke in Nuclear Physics with minors in Mathematics and Religion, having won the Atomic Energy Commission and National Science Foundation fellowships.

He joined DuPont's Development Department where he worked on the creation and commercialization of the first non-studio video recording technologies. He also did research on the chemical and physical nature of the photographic process as used in medical x-rays and electron microscopy. In DuPont's Instrument Product Division he was given worldwide, bottom line responsibility for several biomedical product lines and served in senior plant management at the multi-plant level. Qualifying for early retirement at age 44, he co-founded Knowledge Technologies Training, Inc., an international consulting firm specializing in knowledge management in highly hazardous industries, with Margaret M. R. Eastman. He was a retired, ordained United Methodist pastor who served as pastor in charge and associate pastor within the Delaware Conference. He led several groups to the Holy Lands where his knowledge of the Bible and archaeology brought to life the religions, politics, and culture of ancient times. He served as President and Director of Outreach for the Christian-Jewish Council of Greater Charleston. Jim authored more than 80 papers and patents as well as 5 books and was working on a comparative study of the Gospels. He was a member of the Society of Ordained Scientists (Church of England) and was elected to the Cosmos Club in Washington, D.C. based on significant and meritorious contributions to nuclear science. Jim was currently working with Dr. Mark George, Director, Brain Stimulation Laboratory of MUSC's Institute of Psychiatry, designing a unique magnet which would permit deeply penetrating, highly focused magnetic beams to penetrate the structure of the human brain.

Jim was a member of Bethel United Methodist Church. He was married to Estelle "Bunny" Johnson Dukes and was the loving father of two daughters, Pamela Lynne Sawers and Laura Ruth Sawers Ault. He is also survived by his brother, Larry Sawers of Washington D.C.; his sister, Elizabeth Sawers of Kittery, ME; two grandchildren, William Preston Ault and Julia Christine Ault Dew; and two great-grandchildren, Corbin Nathaniel Dew and Brinley Jayde Ault. He was predeceased by his brother, Jerry Sawers.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to the Bethel United Methodist Church Music Fund, 57 Pitt Street, Charleston, SC 29401.