Biography of W. Norman Sayer

W. Norman Sayer — Having interrupted his college education in order to volunteer for military service during the World War, Mr. Sayer, after almost two years of active service with the United States Army Engineers Corps, did not return to college, but entered business. For six years, immediately following his return to civilian life, he was connected with the New England Steamship Company, after which he became clerk of the Newport District Court. He is one of the popular public officials of Newport, maintains membership in several fraternal and social organizations, and is prominently active in religious circles.

W. Norman Sayer was born at Newport, January 20, 1894, a son of Archibald Baldwin and Sarah Anna (Norman) Sayer. His parents, too, were born in Newport, in which city his father was successfully engaged until his death in the wholesale and retail grocery business. Mr. Sayer’s mother still makes her home in Newport. Having received his early education in the public grammar and high schools of his native city and, having graduated from the Rogers High School, Mr. Sayer became a student at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, which he attended for two and one-half years. The entrance of the United States into the World War changed the course of Mr. Sayer’s life, as it did that of so many other young men. On September 18, 1917, he enlisted in the United States Army as a private in Company A, 301st Engineers. At first stationed at Camp Devens, Massachusetts, Mr. Sayer, in January 1918, was sent to the Engineers Officers Training School at Camp Lee, Virginia, where in April of that year he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Army Engineers Corps. He then was assigned to duty as assistant personnel adjutant at Camp A. A. Humphries, Virginia. Promoted first lieutenant, United States Engineers, in October 1918, he received his honorable discharge with that rank in May 1919. At that time Mr. Sayer accepted a position with the New England Steamship Company, with which he continued to be connected until 1925, when he was appointed clerk of the Newport District Court. In August 1930, he resigned as clerk of the First District Court and was elected on August 26, 1930, city clerk of the city of Newport, being reelected unanimously on January 5, 1931, as city clerk, with offices in the City Hall. At one time he also served for a period of five years as a member of the Representative Council of the city of Newport. He is a member of St. Paul’s Lodge, No. 14, Free and Accepted Masons; Newport Post, No. 7, American Legion; Miantonomi Club, of which he is treasurer; and the Narragansett Bay Sojourners Club. In politics he is a supporter of the Republican party, while his religious affiliations are with the Trinity Protestant Episcopal Church at Newport, of the vestry of which he is clerk, serving also as secretary of the corporation. His favorite form of recreation is bowling and he is also very much interested in bridge whist.

Mr. Sayer married, October 28, 1918, Zita V. Fletcher, a native of Brooklyn, New York. Mr. and Mrs. Sayer are the parents of one son, Archibald Baldwin Sayer.

Source: Carroll, Charles. Rhode Island: Three Centuries of Democracy, vol 4 of 4. New York: Lewis historical Pub. Co., 1932.

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