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In Memoriam

Updated: Oct 18, 2023

The entire Off The Pews family was shocked and saddened to hear about the sudden and unexpected death of Roderick Sawyer, the son of our own good friend, Rod Sawyer, OTP's technical guru.

Among Roderick Chancellor "Chance" Sawyer's many talents and interests, he was a writer for the South Side Weekly, and they wrote a moving tribute article in his memory.

"Chicago's Other Chance: Remembering Lurrkgod" by Luz Magdaleno Flores and Natasha Estevez, October 5, 2023. It begins:

On September 10, 2023, Roderick “Chance” Sawyer passed away suddenly at the age of twenty-eight. The Hyde Park native was a photographer, visual artist, curator, graffiti educator and archivist in Chicago’s Black and brown barrios. His father, Roderick Sawyer (no relation to former 6th Ward alderperson Roderick Sawyer), remembers the first time that an eight-year-old Chance tagged “Chance was here” in their family home. “I asked him why he did that and he responded, ‘I want people to know I was here!,’” Sawyer said. Chance made a profound impact on the streets of Chicago.

This is just the opening of a moving tribute through which you will learn the extraordinary impact this young man had on his community—celebrating the talents of others, expressing the complex life he experienced via multiple creative channels, and sharing his love for his community.

The Sawyer family, immediate and extended, remain in our prayers during this difficult time.

Quote from 2017 interview with Chicago Creatives: “Sometimes I feel a greater amount of Love/the need to love more for those I perceive may be lacking it. The question is (are) can I speak their love language and will it interrupt my own love tank?” Photo above of page from his zine, "2019 Gang Activities Vol. 2." Thank you South Side Weekly for sharing this.

Download a PDF of the South Side Weekly article here. There is a link to the 2017 Chicago Creatives interview inside the article.

10-5-23 Original Chicago’s Other Chance_ Remembering Lurrkgod – South Side Weekly
Download PDF • 87KB

The Sawyers are holding a public memorial in late October:

Saturday, October 21st, 2023 - 10:30am - 3p

Green Line Performing Arts Center

329 E. Garfield Blvd (Under the CTA Green Line Tracks)

Chicago, IL 60637

Formal Memorial Service: 10:30am

Reception and Art Gallery Display immediately following until 3p

Join family, friends and colleagues throughout the day!

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