AUTHOR: Sean Savage | POSTED: February 5, 2013 | COMMENTS: 1 Comment
Twenty years ago my father passed away at the relatively young age of 62. Our family gathered together this past Sunday with my mom, all eight siblings their spouses and a whole gaggle of grandkids. By any account, our family has been blessed in the twenty years since my father passed. All nine of us enjoy each others company and live in fairly close proximity to both my mom and each other.
Since it’s been two decades since my dad’s death, I realize that there is a new generation in our community who sees my father’s name on a building or business, but may not know the man behind the name. In our local newspaper on Thursday, there will be an ad remembering his community legacy. It’ll be chalk full of John F’s accomplishments that deserve to be commemorated. But, I feel that’s it’s only right that I share a few stories that I think highlight who my dad truly was. And yes…they are funny. I hope you enjoy them.
“Run Don’t Walk and Never Stop Thinking”-
My dad was known for packing many, many things into one day. He would fill legal pad after legal pad with to-do lists and then work furiously checking each task off as if he was on a mission from God. Because of his ambitious nature, in going from point A to point B he drove safely but usually a bit over the posted speed limit. One weekend he garnered three speeding tickets; one Friday evening, one Saturday and one Sunday. Needless to say a trifecta of speed violations was frowned upon, so he needed to slow down or risk a potential problem with insurance rates. A few months later, while on a business trip with a young associate from the office the inevitable happened. While driving at night he was pulled over for…wait for it…speeding. Of course, without hesitation he stopped. But after quickly assessing the situation he unbuckled, jumped to the back seat and had the young associate take the wheel. When the police officer got to the car my dad was in the back seat reading a newspaper. When the officer asked the young associate, “Do you know how fast you were driving? The young associate answered honestly, “I have no idea”.
Take Away- My dad often would say to us kids. “Never stop thinking. ”
“Thank You Mom”
Although my dad enjoyed doing work to better the community he deflected attention and recognition. One evening in 1989 our family was summoned to my Uncle Bob and Aunt Sue’s house for a big announcement. No one had a clue as to what would be announced. Soon after arriving the president of the University of Toledo announced the board of trustees earlier that day had approved the renaming of the basketball/multi purpose facility at the university to John F. Savage Hall. Without hesitation my father grimaced and was gathering his thoughts on how to graciously decline when my mom nudged him to let him know he was to accept the kind gesture. The grimace turned into at least a neutral look followed by a few words in which he deflected the attention as best he could to the others in the room. My mom saved the day. The building remains a tremendous memorial to the man who did so much for the university and the community. Most of the grandchildren never met Grandpa John, but they get a little insight into his life from this structure and what it means in addition to family stories.
Take-Away – Thank you mom for giving dad the nudge he needed that night to accept graciously. You and he had quite a marriage and are remarkable role models for all of your children and grandchildren.
“Sure, Take My Car”
It was not unusual for my dad to stop and offer help when anyone needed it. One winter afternoon, while driving on 23/475 he came across a distressed stranger pulled over with a break down. As always, my dad stopped to assist. It turned out the man was on his way to the Detroit Metro airport, sixty miles away to catch a flight to see his family. Without hesitation my dad gave the man his car, after the man dropped my dad off at his meeting. He told the man to return the car when he got home, and in the meantime, my dad had the man’s car fixed. The car was returned to our home a few days later.
Take Away – My dad would give someone the shirt off his back if they were in need He placed little value on possessions and significant value on serving others.
Thank you dad for setting an example of giving with no expectation of return. I am confident most of your kind acts of generosity were done so quietly so as to go unnoticed by others.