James R. Savage Sr. retired Superintendent of the Norwood Public Schools, died Oct. 25, at Faulkner Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He was 84.
He was the beloved husband of Catherine “Kay” (Jennings), treasured father of James Savage, Jr. of Hunt Valley, MD, Steve Savage, Dr. Mary Savage Brown, Cathy Savage-Eysie and father in law of John Eysie all of Norwood. Mr. Savage was the loving grandfather of Jayme, Megan, and Kelli Brown; James III and Erica Savage; as well as Ryan and Tori Eysie. Mr. Savage was the brother-in-law of the late Reverend Henry “Skip” Jennings of Somerville as well as Louis Jennings, Sr. of Norwood, his wife Carol and their four children.
Mr. Savage was born in Boston and excelled as both a student and athlete at Boston Latin School.
A two-sport athlete in football and basketball, he graduated from Boston Latin in 1947. In his yearbook, his classmates honored him with the inscription: “By Popular Demand…A Prince Among Men.” In 1994 Mr. Savage was inducted into the Boston Latin School Hall of Fame.
Later, he graduated from the Boston College School of Business, graduating in 1951; and went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Economics. Mr. Savage served in the US Army from 1953-1955 where he developed, implemented, and managed numerous educational programs for soldiers.
It was during his time in the Army that he developed a passion for education and decided to make it his life’s vocation.
While in the Army, Mr. Savage married his sweetheart and love of his life, Kay, in 1954. Upon leaving the Army, he began his teaching career in the Whitman Public Schools as a math teacher. His reputation as an outstanding teacher grew and eventually, he came to Norwood to start a career, which would span more than three decades.
Under the tutelage of John Corcoran, Mr. Savage started his career as a math teacher then moved into administration. He became vice principal of the Norwood Junior High in 1966 and when Junior High North opened in 1969, he was named principal.
With the help of his “pillars,” a dedicated cadre of teachers, Mr. Savage developed innovative programs such as “the school within a school” concept as well as Saturday enrichment programs.
In 1982, Mr. Savage was appointed superintendent of the Norwood Public Schools, a position he held for 10 years.
During this time, he oversaw the development of numerous innovative school initiatives and programs.
With his commitment to “doing what is in the best interest of kids,” Mr. Savage established himself as a champion for both students and teachers.
Shortly after his retirement, Mr. Savage was asked to come back and lead the Norwood Public Schools once again as their Superintendent.
Following his second retirement, Mr. Savage focused on his other passions: family, tennis, golf, and Boston College football. Mr. Savage and his wife spent many happy winters in Florida and he continued to serve as a valued mentor and friend to teachers, administrators, and town officials.
He generously gave of his time and many have credited him for inspiring them to go into the field of education. This commitment to future leaders was honored when Norwood Junior High North was renamed The James R. Savage Educational Center in 2004. Mr. Savage will be dearly missed by his beloved wife Kay, children, grandchildren, and the people of Norwood, all of whom were blessed to have this “Prince Among Men” in their lives.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Thursday, Oct. 31, at 10 a.m. in St. Timothy Church, 650 Nichols St., Norwood.
Interment will follow the Mass in Highland Cemetery, Norwood. Visiting hours will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 30, from 4 to 8 pm. at St. Timothy’s Church.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in James’ memory to the James R. Savage Scholarship Foundation, 1P.O. Bost 71, Dover, MA 02030-0071.
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