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Former mayor's father remembered as active in community

July 22, 2005|by MARLO BARNHART

HAGERSTOWN

marlob@herald-mail.com

Remembered by friends, family and colleagues as an energetic man with a perpetual smile and a quick wit, Thomas Curtis Sager left a mark on his community that many say will live for years to come.

Tom Sager, 89, died Tuesday at Coffman Nursing Home after a bout with pneumonia.

"Fortunately we were all here last weekend to visit with dad," said his son, Steven Sager. "My sister Susie sat by his bed and sang 'You are my Sunshine' which was the song he always sang to her at bedtime when she was little."

As she neared the end of the song, Tom Sager joined in for the last few words of the chorus which are "please don't take my sunshine away."

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Tom Sager leaves behind his wife of 59 years, Doris Sager. In addition to his children Steven Sager and Susie Mason, Tom Sager also is survived by another daughter, Martha Crank, a number of grandchildren, one great-grandson and several nieces and nephews.

"What I will always remember is that he was so active in the community in a host of ways which set the example for my sisters and me," Steven Sager said.

Steven Sager was mayor of Hagerstown from 1985 to 1997.

One of Tom Sager's passions was the Hagerstown YMCA where he served on the board of directors from 1972 to 1990.

"Tom Sager, Bob Ziegler and the late Jack Barr were at the forefront of the youth movement at the Hagerstown YMCA in the early 1970s," said Frank Erck, who served as YMCA executive director from 1973 to 1988.

"It was a time of rejuvenation and enthusiasm at the YMCA and Tom Sager was very much a part of that," Erck said. "He brought in a lot of new members too because Tom knew everybody."

Erck said he will also remember Tom Sager's smile which was always present and his sense of humor.

"His granddaughters are working up a collage of Tom's favorite sayings for the service," said Doris Sager. Some of those expressions the family called "Punkaisms" because the grandchildren often called their grandfather Punka when they were little.

Tom Sager's pastor, the Rev. Edward Heim, said he counted him as a friend for the 10 years he has been in the pulpit at St. John's Lutheran Church.

"He always had a tremendous sense of humor that allowed him to chuckle at the world," Heim said.

A golfer of legendary zeal, Tom Sager was quite proud of his two holes-in-one during his 50-year-plus membership at the Fountain Head Country Club.

Tom Sager had been president of Sager-Redford Lumber Co. of Hagerstown - following the death of his father - until his retirement. He was later a part-time District Court commissioner.

Services are today at 1 p.m. at St. John's Lutheran Church in Hagerstown. Burial will be in Rest Haven Cemetery.

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