Fox 2 anchor Ron Savage dies

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Ron Savage had two or three "pet" phrases he'd lob around while walking around the offices of Fox 2 (WJBK) in Southfield and interacting with coworkers.

Like, "Top job, man." Or, "You had it all covered, man." And there were others, all purely positive.

The news business isn't always positive. But Savage sure was.

"I think you're made like that," said Dan Miller, Fox 2's sports director. "Some people have to try to be like that. That's just Ron, man. That was just him."

Savage died Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, after suffering a heart attack while training with the Milford Fire Department, the station announced. He was 63.

Visitation will be held 1-9 p.m. Wednesday at Lynch & Sons Funeral Home at 404 E. Liberty, Milford, and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday at St. Mary Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Church, 1955 E. Commerce Road in Milford. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 4 p.m. Thursday at the church, according to the Lynch & Sons website.

Savage was the weekend co-anchor of the 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. news, alongside Amy Lange. He also was known for his investigative reporting, with problem-solvers spots and Michigan's "most-wanted" segments.

He won an Emmy in 2004 for his coverage of a shooting during the Detroit fireworks.

Condolences quickly poured in upon word of his death.

"I was blessed to call him my friend, my colleague, my co-anchor," Lange wrote on Twitter. "There's not a finer person or journalist in Detroit. We will all miss him."

“We are shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of our colleague Ron Savage. Ron was a shining example of an individual who gave everything he had to his family, community and to Fox 2. He was a consummate professional serving as both our weekend anchor and late evening reporter. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this difficult time,” WJBK Fox 2 general manager Mike Renda said in a news release.

"Deeply saddened by the loss of a friend and a colleague whose upbeat personality brightened everyone's days," Fox 2 morning anchor Roop Raj wrote on Twitter.

Raj had just seen Savage on Friday at the Salvation Army's radiothon.

That was another part of Savage's resume — giving back.

He held a medical license as an EMT — EMT, not Fox 2, was part of his Twitter handled — and he worked as a volunteer firefighter in Milford, earning two citations for outstanding performance above and beyond the call of daty.

Savage once helped extricate and rescue a driver of an overturned semi-truck.

On Sunday, Savage was scheduled to participate in a climbing of the stairs at the Renaissance Center tower, to raise money for the American Lung Association. He also helped with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Easter Seals, the Autism Society of Michigan and the Humane Society.

A Detroit native, Savage had been at Fox 2 since 1999.

The news business is one of stress, and it can be cut-throat, but you wouldn't know it by talking to Savage.

"You don't meet many like him that always leave a conversation a little bit better than when they got there," Miller said. "I'll be honest with you, in all the years I've known him, I can't imagine one time when anybody walked away from a conversation not feeling better about themselves.

"He was just the most relentlessly positive person I've ever met. I never saw Ron have a bad day. He just did everything he could to lift you up."

Miller recalled a conversation he once had with Tigers legend Kirk Gibson, who talked about how everybody is going through life building a ladder.

Naturally, there are going to be people who try to knock you off that ladder.

But that wasn't Savage, Miller said.

"Ron helped you up the ladder," Miller said. "That's what he did, that's who he was."

Survivors include his wife, Mitzi; a son, Ronnie; sisters Pat Murphy and Elizabeth; and brothers Tom and Dave.