The family and many friends of Katharine Martin-Savage held a celebration of her life Monday, May 1, at the Strong-Hancock Funeral Home in Damariscotta.
Martin-Savage passed away April 10 at her home at Seafield Farm in Wiscasset, where she has spent the last 43 years of her life. She was remembered for her friendship, generosity, independence, and commitment to her town, county, state, and nation.
Martin-Savage was a well-known community figure, having served two terms on the Wiscasset Select Board and multiple terms on the Wiscasset Budget Committee. She was a prominent member of the Wiscasset Chamber of Commerce, the Wiscasset Female Charitable Society, and the Friends of the Wiscasset Public Library, for which she generously hosted the Bands for Books fundraising event at Seafield Farm.
During the service Martin-Savage’s daughter Stephanie Hergenroeder was first to honor her mother with words reflecting her love and appreciation. Hergenroeder’s daughter, Katharine Nowak, said her grandmother advised her to, “always look for a friend in everyone.”
Wiscasset Select Board member William Maloney and his wife Lynn, who had become close friends of Martin-Savage, cited a J.M Lawrence quote: “It’s not what we have in life, but who we have in our lives that matter.”
He went on to say, “All of us gathered here today were blessed to have had Katharine Martin-Savage in our lives. A truly, incredibly special person; someone you met and immediately liked and trusted; a person who without hesitating would help a friend.
“She offered her services to not only her friends and family but to her town, her county and her country.”
When Martin-Savage’s health began to deteriorate, Maloney told how her friends met and formed her “cabinet” to help her cope; she had a secretary of food services, a secretary of health and welfare, a secretary of transportation, and an appointments secretary. They were ready to look out for her, he said.
Former Lincoln County Commissioner John O’Connell, who worked with Martin-Savage for nearly a decade planning the construction of the Two Bridges Regional Jail, and again while serving as Wiscasset Town Manager when Martin-Savage was on the select board, said her friendship was a gift to him.
He spoke of her generosity, her patience, and her ability to listen with an open mind. She was a humble person who never bragged about her accomplishments, of which there were many, he said.
“Her Christmas parties made my Christmas every year,” he said. “I will miss her. She was a dear friend that will never be forgotten.”
Wiscasset Select Board Chair Sarah Whitfield, who served on the board with Martin-Savage said, she was thankful to have had that opportunity. “She was a mentor to me,” Whitfield said.
She recalled one evening after a difficult select board meeting, she said to Martin-Savage, “I could use a glass of wine,” but with the lateness of the hour there would be no place to get one.
Martin-Savage said she knew a place: there was plenty of wine at her house. Whitfield said she thought she would go, have a glass of wine and go home. She did have one glass, and ended up being gifted two bottles to take home.
Wiscasset Town Manager Dennis Simmons offered his sincere condolences to Martin-Savage’s family and friends. Although he had not known Martin-Savage well outside of town business, Simmons said he thoroughly enjoyed what time he got to spend with her.
“Occasionally, though not often, Kathy and I would disagree on some particular issue,” he said. “She might disagree, but she was never disagreeable. She was always pleasant and professional with me. In my brief time with Kathy, I learned one thing that I can say with absolute confidence: whether it be through serving on various boards or committees, charitable organizations, hosting Bands for Books, or showing support for local businesses, Kathy loved our community and she left our community better off because she was part it.”