PLAISTOW — For 28 years, Stephen Savage was dedicated to serving the community he loved as the town’s police chief.
But yesterday afternoon, Savage lost his three-year battle with kidney cancer. The town is mourning the loss of a true public servant, Town Manager Sean Fitzgerald said.
“We are deeply saddened by the news of the passing of our friend and police chief,” Fitzgerald said. “Stephen Savage dedicated his life to public safety and his work made a great impact on the town of Plaistow.”
Savage, 68, was the second-longest-serving police chief in New Hampshire, he said. He began as chief in 1986 after serving as chief in Haverhill, N.H., for 10 years, Fitzgerald said.
The community recognized Savage in late June by dedicating the police department’s tactical training center in his honor. In May, he was the grand marshal for the town’s Memorial Day parade.
The Run of the Savages 5K was also established in his honor to benefit the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund.
But Savage said the event was all about helping others battling the disease.
“It’s very flattering,” Savage said last year. “This isn’t about me. It’s about the sickness.”
A tumor was removed from Savage’s kidney and he underwent chemotherapy, but halted the treatment and said he decided to just live life to the fullest. That included working long hours at the police department.
Fitzgerald said he best remembered the Vietnam War veteran and father of two young sons for his “can-do” attitude and sense of humor.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family,” he said.
Savage was also remembered by Gov. Maggie Hassan.
“His commitment to protecting his fellow citizens helped keep New Hampshire one of the safest states in the nation,” Hassan said in a statement.