Letters: Town of Union

Town of Union Annual Report dedicated to lifelong ‘Unionite’

Tue, 06/11/2019 - 2:15pm

The Town of Union has honored one of its distinguish citizens, Christine R. Savage, with the dedication of the 2019 Town of Union Annual Report. 

Union’s Town Manager wrote:

A familiar smiling face around town and a distinguished public servant, Christine was born in Union on August 5, 1931. In 1994 she was elected by the people of Union to the Maine House of Representatives, where she served three terms (1995 to 2000). In 2001 she was elected to represent the people of Knox County as a member of the Maine Senate.

In her first term, Senator Savage served as a member of the State and Local Government Committee. She also served on the Transportation Committee beginning in 1997; in 2001 and 2002 she was its Senate chair.

One of her proudest accomplishments was sponsoring Maine’s seat belt law.

In a congratulatory retirement message in the May 2008 Maine Townsman, the Maine Municipal Association said of Christine: “During her tenure in both the House and the Senate, Senator Savage has been a strong advocate for municipal government. Her understanding of local issues and local procedures is due in large part to her 20-year career in town government, as well as her inherent common sense and strong work ethic.”

Christine studied Public Administration at the University of Maine. She has lived her whole life in Union except for one stint in Searsport (1969-1974) and another in Camden (1974-1985). From the start she served in a variety of municipal positions, including working out of the family home in Union as town bookkeeper. She worked as an administrative assistant for Knox County Commissioners in the late 1970s, then served the Town of Camden in many capacities including an 11-month stint as interim manager. In 1991 she was hired to manage the Town of Warren, where she stayed until she was elected to the Legislature in 1994.

The Maine Townsman also said, “her efforts to advance public policy… helped to improve the way in which services are provided at the local level. Equally important has been Senator Savage’s efforts to continually educate her peers about how state-level decisions impact the delivery of services at the local level.”

During her illustrious career, Christine also raised four children with her late husband Elmer N. “Bud” Savage: Sandra who lives in Warren, Maine; Gloria who lives in Lakeland, Florida; and Althea and Elmer L. (“Buddy”) who live in Union. Today she lives in Union and has six grandchildren as well as 10 great grandchildren.

She and Elmer N., originally from Washington, Maine, married just after World War II and settled in Union. They purchased the Barrett Hill homestead in 1985, eager to return to Union after Elmer N.’s retirement, from Ercel Stewart, a family connection.

Here in town we have been very fortunate to have Christine serve where needed through the years, serving as interim Town Manager in 1993 and again in 2008-2009; interim Road Commissioner; and interim General Assistance Administrator. She has also served on Union’s Board of Selectmen, Budget Committee, and as a Republican Election Clerk.

Public service runs in the family. Christine’s late husband Elmer N. (“Bud”) served on our Board of Selectmen from 1955 to 1969 and again in the late 1980s; he was also Fire Warden from 1955 to 1965. Her son Elmer L. (“Buddy”), who now owns and operates Savage Oakes Vineyard and Winery with his wife Holly, served on the Union Board of Selectmen from 2007 to 2015.

We asked Elmer L. what prompted his mother to embark on a career in public service. “Initially she helped my father, as he was involved,” he said. “Eventually she followed in his footsteps and made her own career in government. I often wonder how far she would have gotten in a more modern time.”

These days Christine keeps watch on the town from her living room window on the hill. She reads widely and stays up to date on state politics. A longtime member of the People’s United Methodist Church, she enjoys time with her grandchildren and great grandchildren as well as socializing at the Penobscot Bay YMCA therapy pool.

She has lifelong “Unionite” friends and keeps in touch with relatives and friends all over the country.

There is no doubt the Town of Union is a better place for having Christine R. Savage as a most esteemed and beloved resident.