Diane Sawyer’s Mother Passes Away

By Chris Ariens 

SawyerMother1Diane Sawyer’s mother Jean Sawyer Hayes passed away Wednesday in Louisville, KY. She was 94.

Sawyer told the Courier-Journal this morning that her mother “was a force of nature, optimistic, spunky and energetic.”

Sawyer Hayes, was a longtime elementary school teacher and, later, civic leader. “Her students by the hundreds were jolted into the possibilities of their lives,” Sawyer said.


A visitation is planned for this weekend in St. Matthews, KY with a private funeral next week.

ABC News president James Goldston sent a note to ABC News staff this morning, writing that Sawyer “is with her Kentucky family now, and her ABC family will embrace her when she returns.”


I want to share the sad news that Diane’s extraordinary and beloved mother, Jean Sawyer Hayes, passed away in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky on Wednesday. She was 94.

For decades she taught elementary school, and to this day hundreds of students remember her vitality, curiosity and belief in them. Even after retiring, Jean had deep ties in her community and was adored by her large family, her students and their families.

There will be a small family memorial service in Louisville this weekend. In lieu of flowers, the family has suggested a donation to a scholarship fund they will set up in Jean’s honor. We’ll share those details when they’re available.

I know many of you will want to send your condolences to Diane. She is with her Kentucky family now, and her ABC family will embrace her when she returns. In the meantime, I know you’ll join me in keeping Diane, her sister Linda and her family in our thoughts.