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Elizabeth “Bette” (Dillingham) Savage

Elizabeth “Bette” (Dillingham) Savage, age 92, of Ipswich, passed away on Friday, July 26, 2013, following a period of declining health. She was the loving wife of the late David “Doc” Woodruff Savage, with whom she shared sixty four years of marriage.

Born in Annapolis, MD, she was the daughter of the late Alexander and Alveda Frances (Greenwood) Dillingham. She was raised in the shadow of the Naval Academy in Annapolis where her father was a professor of mathematics, enjoying summers on Cape Cod, in the family’s cottage on the beach at the end of a dirt road in Davisville. Bette attended grammar school in Annapolis and her secondary years at Southern Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. She then studied at Hood College, graduating in 1942 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. She furthered her education, achieving an O.T.R. at the Philadelphia School of Occupational Therapy in 1944. She practiced O.T. in Baltimore until her marriage to “Doc” Savage in 1948.

Nothing was impossible for Bette.  Her sense of adventure led her to ride her 28” bicycle all the way to the Canadian border from Maryland. Her love of and fascination with the boats that she enjoyed in Davisville later inspired her to build her own sailboat in her Ipswich living room, shaping the wood by soaking it in the bathtub. She then spent many summers sailing with her family at Papoose Pond in South Paris, Maine.

Bette was a stay-at-home mother and she used her imagination and O.T. training in many projects. Always thrifty, Bette braided many rugs for her Ipswich home, even incorporating into the dining room rug the suits that she and Doc wore at their wedding. She made handcrafted birdhouses and homemade jellies, which she sold on a small table at the end of the driveway. And she was always brewing a fresh batch of root beer in the kitchen for the family and neighborhood playmates.

In 1967 Bette earned her Massachusetts Professional Librarian certification and worked at the Ipswich Public Library, retiring in 1983 but volunteering there until she was 80. She enjoyed traveling the country with Doc, and then established her own postcard business, learning the art of photography at an evening class taught by a local photographer. She was involved in the community for many years with the Ipswich Women’s Club, as a volunteer for the Girl Scouts and also the American Red Cross, and knitting afghans for veterans and mittens for Ipswich Caring.

She is survived by her son Richard and his wife Lynne of Grosse Ile, Michigan, her daughter Ann Savage and her husband Paul McDade of Ipswich, five grandchildren, Christina (Costanza) Brown of Nottingham, NH, Michael Costanza of Topsfield, Richard and Christopher Savage of Grosse Ile, and Kimberly (Savage) Eberly of Ferndale, Michigan, as well as several nieces and nephews.

Private funeral arrangements were under the direction of the Whittier-Porter Funeral Home of Ipswich. In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy may be made in her name  to Hospice of the North Shore Greater Boston, Suite B-102, 75 Sylvan Street, Danvers, MA 01923.

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