Jean Sawyer Hays was a beloved teacher
Credit: Gustavo Caballero/Getty

Diane Sawyer’s mother has died at the age of 94.

Jean Sawyer Hayes passed away Wednesday in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, where the the longtime elementary teacher will be laid to rest this weekend with a small family memorial service.

“To this day hundreds of students remember her vitality, curiosity and belief in them,” ABC News chief James Goldston wrote in a memo to network staffers Thursday. “Even after retiring, Jean had deep ties in her community and was adored by her large family, her students and their families.”

Sawyer, 68, recently stepped down as anchor of ABC World News. She is already in Kentucky, and Goldston adds, “her ABC family will embrace her when she returns.”

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