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Diane Sawyer’s Mother, Jean, Dead at 94

Jean Sawyer Hayes, a teacher, died in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky

Diane Sawyer’s mother, Jean Sawyer Hayes, died Wednesday at the age of 94, insiders familiar with the situation told TheWrap.

See photos: Hollywood’s Notable Deaths of 2014 (Photos)

In a note to staff obtained by TheWrap, ABC News President James Goldston broke the news to staff and lauded Sawyer Hayes.

Goldston wrote: “For decades she taught elementary school, and to this day hundreds of students remember her vitality, curiosity and belief in them. Even after retiring, Jean had deep ties in her community and was adored by her large family, her students and their families.

Also read: Diane Sawyer Says Goodbye to ABC’s ‘World News’ (Video)

A small family memorial service in Louisville will take place this weekend. In lieu of flowers, the family has suggested a donation to a scholarship fund they will set up in Jean’s honor. We’ll share those details when they’re available.

I know many of you will want to send your condolences to Diane. She is with her Kentucky family now, and her ABC family will embrace her when she returns. In the meantime, I know you’ll join me in keeping Diane, her sister Linda and her family in our thoughts.”

Also read: Ben Bradlee, Washington Post ‘Watergate’ Editor, Dead at 93

Sawyer stepped down from her “World News” anchor chair this summer. An insider told TheWrap she was working at ABC in New York when she learned of her mother’s passing. We send our condolences to the anchor and her family.