Sarah Ann Butts Sasser, 89, died peacefully in her home in Smithfield, North Carolina on April 26, 2021.
She was born July 27, 1931 in Halifax County North Carolina, the daughter of Louis and Georgia Wade Butts.
Sarah is survived by her sister, Louise Butts Brake.
In addition to her sister, she is survived by a nephew, Robert Louis Brake and his wife Michelle Smith Brake, a great nephew Robert Andrew “Drew” of Mocksville, NC, a niece, Georgia Louise Brake Jaitly and her husband Dr. Rakesh Jaitly, great nieces Krishna Louise and Rama Jaitly of Bethesda, Maryland.
Sarah graduated from Aurelian Springs High school. After high school, she attended the Women’s College of North Carolina (UNC at Greensboro) School of Home Economics, receiving a B.S. degree in Home Economics in 1953.
After graduating, she began her career in Northampton County, NC as an Assistant Home Economics Agent from 1953-1955, then serving as a Home Economics Agent with the Cooperative Extension Service in Johnston County from 1955-1969. In 1994, she relocated to Beaufort, NC and was employed as Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Educator in the NC Cooperative Extension Service in Carteret County.
In addition to her extension work, she dedicated her life to volunteer and community service. Sarah served on the boards of Branch Banking and Trust Company, Johnston County Committee of the Triangle Land Conservancy and Johnston County Education foundation. She organized “Keep Johnston County Beautiful, Inc. and served on the board of directors and its president twice. She organized and was president of the Johnston County Unit of the American Cancer Society. Under the auspices of “Keep Johnston County Beautiful, Inc.”, Sarah was the founder and chairman of the Festival of Trees, a display of over 50 beautifully decorated Christmas trees set up every holiday season at Johnston Medical mall in Smithfield, NC. She organized and with many other volunteers she presented this exhibit for 8 years to brighten the holiday season for over 15,000 visitors each year. Sarah was a long time member of Centenary United Methodist in Smithfield. For many years participated in the Chancel Choir, United Methodist Women circle leader, Administrative Board and Council on Ministries and was Chairman of various church committees.
With her spirit of community, determination, strength of character and outreach through her life, Sarah was recognized for her dedication with numerous awards throughout her career. Sarah received the 2012 NC 4-H Citizen Award and was inducted into the NC 4-H Hall of Fame, she received the Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Extension Home Economics, the Governor’s award for Volunteer Service in 1981 and 1988, Distinguished Service Award by the Greater Smithfield-Selma Area Chamber of Commerce, the Johnston County 4H Leadership Award, Volunteer of the Year from the NC Division of the American Cancer Society, and the Distinguished Service Award, Johnston County Unit of the American Cancer Society. Her interest, integrity, dedication, innovation, and commitment to excellence, exemplifies the leadership and impact through volunteering that she made a difference and brought overwhelming joy in many of the lives of North Carolinians.
In addition to her work and volunteer service, she enjoyed everything flowers. You could always find her involved in flower arranging for work and community events as well as for special family occasions. If there needed to be any flowers at an event she was involved in, you could find her doing last minute touches to her arrangements.
A celebration of her life will be held @ 2pm, Friday, April 30th during a Graveside Service at Tabor United Methodist Church in Littleton, NC - Halifax County. Condolences may be made to Wrenn Clarke & Hagan Funeral Home in Roanoke Rapids, NC. Memorials may be made to the Autism Society of North Carolina @ the www.autismsociety-nc.org. Our family expresses our appreciation to Sarah’s Liberty Hospice team- Pastor Paul, Jackie & Jessica. The family also expresses appreciation for her devoted friends Flora Grantham, Rebecca Mast & Ricky Klein of Smithfield. We also express our heartfelt appreciation to Terri Johnson, her caregiver. We thank her for her compassion, commitment and dedication to Sarah and our family for the past 6 years.