Thomas E. Savidge, 1947 - 2021
The image of a lioness carrying her tiny cub to safety, the little one’s face scrunched up and its feet dangling, connects to Tom and his passion and artistry in photography. With that smile-inducing photograph, Tom won the grand prize in a 2014 photo competition held by Micato Safaris, Nairobi, Kenya. Love, creativity, and adventure – captured in a photo, and reflected in the life of the photographer.
Thomas Edward Savidge, age 73, died on March 25, 2021, embraced by the love of his wife Jan, and surrounded by the love of friends and family who knew him for nearly 50 years. His death was caused by glioblastoma multiforme, a brain tumor, and its complications.
Tom was born in Beatrice, NE, and grew up in Bridgeport, NE, enjoying a youth full of the work and routines of family life on a ranch where he nurtured a love of the outdoors, exploring the wild areas of their 800 acres, even enjoying the bygone opportunity of sometimes riding his pony to school.
In 1968 he joined the U.S. Navy, serving two tours of duty in Vietnam as a member of the Seabees, the Navy’s Construction Battalion. After his honorable discharge in 1971, he reignited his college studies, earning a B.S. in Civil Engineering at the University of Wyoming, Laramie, in 1973.
At the university, he met Jan (née Klingsick). They were married in 1974 and began a life together, sharing a love of global travel and adventure and building enduring relationships with the people they met.
Tom oversaw the building of military base support facilities and navigation water projects in his nearly 30-year career with the Army Corps of Engineers. Those projects took him and Jan to Indianapolis, Omaha, Manhattan, KS, Redlands, CA, Portland, OR, and Grafenwoeher, Germany. In 2002 he retired from the Corps, and with Jan moved from Gresham, OR, to Makena, Maui, HI.
For many years Tom and Jan volunteered for Meals on Wheels. In addition, their volunteer work involved environmental causes — overnight observation and protection of Hawaiian Hawksbill sea turtles and their nests and restoration of endangered trees by planting seedlings on the slopes of Haleakala.
Tom was an active member of the Maui Camera Club, shooting photos of the Milky Way and other starscapes from the top of Haleakala, birds and more birds in Maui’s forests and wetlands, garden flora and landscapes found across the Hawaiian islands. In 2011 he won second place in the Lahaina Arts Society Photo Maui Awards annual photography contest. His photo of a lioness carrying her cub was taken on Tom and Jan’s first of three photo safaris to Africa. In addition, they also joined National Geographic/Lindblad Photography Expeditions to Antarctica and Baja & the Sea of Cortez, trips that enriched their respect and love of many cultures, people and landscapes.
Loved ones who pre-deceased Tom include his parents, Charles and Mae Savidge of Bridgeport, NE; his natural mother, Marge Nelson of St. Paul, MN; his step-mother, Ruberta Savidge of Vancouver, WA; his brother Robert L. Savidge and sister-in-law Wanda of Palm Springs, CA; his sister Diane Nelson of Stillwater, MN; and his nephew Robert M. Savidge of Denver, CO, and great-nephew, Ryan Savidge of Denver, CO.
Tom’s survivors include his wife Janice Savidge of Hudson, WI; his sister’s family: brother-in-law Jacque Nelson of Stillwater, MN, nephew Robb Nelson of Maplewood, MN, and great-nieces Erin Nelson of Duluth, MN, and Elise Nelson of Woodbury, MN; niece Kelly Nelson Casci (Kiko) of Woodbury, MN, and great-niece Marianna Smith (Wallace) and great-great nephew Leo of Chisago, MN, great-niece Nina Casci of Maplewood, MN, great-niece Alexandria Casci of Woodbury, MN, and great-nephew Nikolas Casci of Woodbury, MN, his aunt Virginia Newcomb (Roy) of Anoka, MN; his brother David Fink (Sue) of Elizabeth, CO, and family: nephew Trevor Fink (Jennifer) and great-nieces Zoey and Paige Fink of Elizabeth, CO; nephew Dustin Fink (Amy) and great-nephews Chase and Breck Fink, and great-niece Ella Fink of Mt. Zion, IL; and his brother Robert’s family: nephew Dan Savidge of Bridgeport, NE, and nephew Anthony Savidge of Desert Hot Springs, CA, and his nephew Robert’s family: Robert’s wife Valerie of Denver, CO, and family: great-niece Kristy Savidge of Wheat Ridge, CO, great-great nieces Maya and Avery; great-niece Jolene Collins (George) of Johnstown, CO, great-great nieces Hailey and Kaira, and great-great nephew Carter; and his step-sister Bunny Moe (Maynard) of Vancouver, WA.
In sync with his deep commitment to earth-friendly practices, Tom requested a green cremation. The disposition of his ashes will take place at his favorite wildlife-viewing outlook on his former family farm near Bridgeport.
Memorials may be made in memory of Tom Savidge, with checks made payable to Lakeview Health Foundation, 5803 Neal Avenue N, Oak Park Heights, MN 55082 — please designate “Lakeview Hospice” on memo line. Donations to hospice are tax deductible.
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