H. Leon Savage, 83, of Covington, died March 23, 2017. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Anne McDonald Savage; his daughter Tammy Savage Davis and son-in-law Ed Davis. Other survivors include his brother-in-law Walter Hugh “Sonny” McDonald, Jr., Peggy Stallings, and his sister-in-law Judy McDonald Hooten and her husband Dennis Hooten. In addition, Leon was “Unk” to Shawn Hooten-Loftin and her husband Ricky and their two daughters, Rainey and Raleigh along with Trista Hooten-Wilson and her husband Michael as well as sons Cotton Young and Palmer Wilson. He was “Uncle Leon” to: Annson McDonald Bates and Andy Bates, their sons Matt and Jennie Bates and Michael Bates, along with great-great niece Jordyn Bates; Annslee McDonald Barker and Lennie Barker, along with her sons Patrick and Nicholas Miller; Lynn Savage Tamplin and her husband Bruce and their family; and Phil Savage and his wife Carol along with their daughter April. He is preceded in death by his parents, Ernest and Gladys Savage, and his brother and sister-in-law, Charles and Josephine Savage.
Leon was born July 20, 1933 in Newton County and was a 1950 graduate of Newton County High School. He enlisted in the Navy later that year and was assigned to Norfolk, Virginia. During the Korean War Leon served as a court recorder on a hospital ship in the Pacific, assisting in the transport of wounded soldiers. While he never talked much about his time in the service, Leon was fiercely proud of his status as a veteran and a true patriot. When he returned to Covington in 1954, he met a dark-haired beauty named Anne McDonald at the Covington City Swimming Pool on Newton Drive. The rest, as they say, is history. After their marriage, Leon was employed at McGuire Dodge just off the Covington Square for a number of years before transitioning into a very successful career in the farm equipment business. These careers allowed him to pursue his passion as a “car guy” and, shockingly to some, he undertook the weekend hobby of race car driving. With the entire family in tow, he spent many weekends on the quarter-mile dirt tracks in North Georgia racing old jalopies, including the #42 and the T6 named for Tammy. The winnings were seldom, if ever, enough to cover expenses, but it was the love of cars and camaraderie that made it fun for him. (Looking back, it is entirely likely some of the friends he made there were likely descendants of some of the original moonshiner runners….) Throughout his life, cars whether new or classic, remained a big part of his life. Leon took early retirement and began a “gentleman’s farm” at the family home on Dixie Road, raising a few cows and putting in huge gardens each spring. When Anne and Judy opened a small shop on the Covington Square, Leon became “Chief Maintenance Officer,” taking care of assembly, repairs, maintenance, and the creation of lamps from everything from empty wine bottles to teacups to flamingo cookie jars. He was incredibly proud of the fact that his creations were in homes all over the Southeast and loved the challenge of turning whatever crazy pieces Tammy and Judy would bring him into a lamp. Leon loved the water and he and Anne lived for a time on Jackson Lake. Over the years, they had a number of different boats and took many vacations on the water. Being near water was one of the great pleasures of his life and he proudly sported a Jimmy Buffett Margaritaville tag on his truck for many years.
This March 8 marked Leon’s and Anne’s 60th wedding anniversary and there was a “family meeting” on Saturday, Feb. 11, to make plans for a celebration. The next week he was admitted to the hospital. Although he had almost fully recovered from a stroke in April 2016, his decline was rapid over the last several weeks. The family is blessed by the wonderful neighbors and many close friends, especially Betty and Artis Standard, who expressed their love and concern during this time. The family would also like to thank the staff at Piedmont Newton Hospital as well as Abbey Hospice for their care and compassion.
Leon was known and loved by so many, but especially his family. A visitation will be held Saturday, March 25 from 5 – 7 p.m. at Caldwell & Cowan, 1215 Access Road, Covington, GA. The service will be held Sunday, March 26 at 2 p.m. in the chapel followed by a brief graveside prayer at Lawnwood. The Rev. Dr. Billy Wade will lead the celebration of Leon’s life. The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be made in his memory to the First Presbyterian Church of Covington, 1169 Clark St., SW, Covington, GA 30014. Visit www.caldwellandcowan.com to place condolences online. 770-786-7062