Goudyloch “Giddy” Saffold Erwin Dyer ’38

Goudyloch “Giddy” Saffold Erwin Dyer ’38, of Davidson, N.C., died on Feb. 28. Mrs. Dyer will be deeply missed by the communities of Davidson and suburban Chicago, where she was a passionately committed public servant and beloved wife, friend, mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She will be remembered for the joy she brought to all she met. She remained active and vibrant until her sudden and peaceful death at her home at The Pines. She told many family members she had accomplished all she hoped for in life—except for the chance to vote for Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election. She was born May 28, 1919, in Atlanta, Ga., and spent her childhood in Davidson. She was the daughter of the late Mary Louisa Browne Erwin and former Davidson College English professor Edward Jones Erwin (Class of 1906), who were themselves beloved pillars of the Davidson community. Her brothers, George Pfifer Erwin ’36 and Edward Jones Erwin ’43, were both killed during World War II, and her family constructed a memorial building in their honor, Erwin Lodge, which remains part of the campus of Davidson College. After completing a year at the then all-male Davidson College, Giddy received a bachelor of arts degree at Agnes Scott College in Atlanta in 1938. She spent two years as an assistant children’s librarian at the New York City Public Library. While living in Brooklyn, N.Y., she met and married Robert Campbell Dyer, who preceded her in death in 2004 after 63 years of marriage. Following World War II, they moved to the Chicago area. There, she became active in local community groups including Girl Scouts, the parent-teacher associations at her children’s schools, American Association of University Women, and the League of Women Voters. She also wrote reviews of children’s books for The Chicago Tribune. Through her involvement in the League, as well as the National Council of Republican Workshops, she entered politics in 1960 as the first woman elected to the DuPage County Board of Commissioners. She held the office until 1968, when she was elected to the first of six terms in the Illinois state legislature. While there, she focused on health, education, conservation, and issues affecting women and children. She was chief Republican House sponsor of the Equal Rights Amendment, and successfully pushed it through the Illinois House in 1975. Her many honors for her public service included being named 1973 Woman of the Year by Illinois Business and Professional Women, and in 1982, receiving the Distinguished Alumna Award from both of her alma maters. She served on many boards, including Planned Parenthood of the Chicago Area and the Elmhurst College Board of Trustees. She also served on the board to develop the Davidson retirement community that became The Pines. Through most of her retirement, she maintained residences in both Davidson and in Hinsdale, Ill., and was a talented and devoted member of bridge clubs in both communities. She is survived by her son, Colin Robert Campbell Dyer (Janet), 200 Sedelia Dr., Bessemer City, NC 28016-9752; daughter, Erwin “Wynn” Avery Graham (Michael); former daughter-in-law, Marsha Dyer Kelly (Chuck); granddaughter, Leigh Avery Dyer; grandsons, Campbell Robert Dyer (Jen), Kelly Irl Dyer (Anna), Galen Avery Graham (Amanda), William Erwin Reid Graham ’02, Robert “Ted” Edward Graham, and Kevin Milas Dyer; great-grandsons, Luke Campbell Robert Dyer and Finn Winston Dyer; and great-granddaughters, Ivy Greer Dyer and Brooke Elizabeth Dyer. Memorials may be made to the Erwin Scholarship or the Erwin Lodge Foundation, both c/o Davidson College, Box 7168, Davidson, NC 28035-7168.