Living Legends: 'A woman of so much wisdom and knowledge'

Living Legends: 'A woman of so much wisdom and knowledge'

CHAMPAIGN — Described as a kind and selfless giver, Carolyn Savage has never sought the limelight.

Now she's about to be honored by an organization that believes unsung heroines of the community shouldn't go unrecognized.

Savage, 80, of Champaign, will be one of five local women honored as Living Legends on Saturday by the Champaign County Section of the National Council of Negro Women.

Betty Hassell, a section member sponsoring Savage for the Living Legend honor, said Savage has always seen to the needs of others — "she's just that type of person."

Savage raised two children, Scott and Christie, with her pastor husband, the Rev. Lundy Savage, and worked with him in the church.

She grew up in Robins, and she and her husband were married in 1966.

"We met through a friend of his who was married to my sister," Savage said.

For a time, they lived in Tulsa, Okla., while the Rev. Savage taught at Langston University.

They made Illinois their home for good when the Rev. Savage was called to his first pastorate in Dixon and then, in 1971, he became the longtime pastor of Mount Olive Baptist Church in Champaign.

The Rev. Savage passed away in 2011.

Carolyn Savage said she stayed home with her children when they were younger and held several clerical jobs, working for the Department of Defense, the state Department of Children and Family Services and the Champaign school district.

Her work in the church included teaching Sunday school and new member classes and singing in the choir.

Savage said her main focus in the church was counseling young women, and her advice to young women now is the same as it has been through the years.

She encourages them to have a high self-esteem, to think well of themselves, to have a positive outlook and to live a healthy lifestyle.

Where she sees room for improvement in Champaign-Urbana is more church involvement in the lives of young men.

"I think the church could play a bigger factor in working with the young men of the community, to give them a more positive outlook on life," she said.

These days, Savage enjoys spending time with her kids and three grandchildren. She also enjoys sports and is a fan of the Chicago White Sox and Golden State Warriors.

Hassell said Savage is a woman of grace and virtue who gives selflessly without ever expecting anything in return.

"She is still counseling the youth and volunteering her services in the nursing homes in addition to many more community activities," Hassell said. "I felt that a woman of so much wisdom and knowledge should not go unnoticed."

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