From her childhood, Mom found joy in the beauty of nature and her dedication to her family, her faith, and her friends. She had a brilliant mind and loved to learn. When she graduated from Richfield High School in 1966, she was co-valedictorian. In a time when smart women did shorthand, Marlene was winning competitions around the state.
On June 16, 1967, she married Rodney Frank Savage in the St. George LDS Temple. Like many couples, they met at school - only for them, this was Mrs. Carr's afternoon kindergarten class. This childhood friendship turned into a lifelong romance. Their deep love and respect for each other, and shared commitment to their faith, allowed them to serve and love without boundaries. They balanced each other perfectly in every aspect of life: Dad is fearless, but Mom had good judgment. (As a result: no one in the family has yet attempted to fly by attaching helium balloons to a lawnchair.)
Mom and Dad moved to Cedar City to attend the College of Southern Utah, where their first son, Justin, was born. After graduation they moved to Los Angeles, where their daughter Amy was born. In 1973, the couple moved to St. George, where Rod opened an accounting office. Mom loved St. George. The couple put down deep roots, becoming active in the community and welcoming four more children into the family: Colt, Joshua, Sara, and Kate.
Marlene loved being a Homemaker and a stay-at-home Mom. As children, we knew rainy days meant fresh-baked cookies. We knew a cold snap meant warm soup. For us, Thursday will always be dedicated to laundry and deep cleaning. These weren't chores for her: caring for her home and working in her yard was an art, and something she took pride in.
Mom loved to read and learn about the world. Starting in 1987, she read every issue of National Geographic Magazine from cover to cover. She ordered college textbooks on chemistry, astronomy, and neurology, and read them for pleasure. Every day she solved the newspaper crossword puzzle and deciphered the crypto quote.
When she was 32, she took swimming lessons at the St. George City Pool, and every summer since then, would swim at least a mile every day. (Even in her 60s, she could out-swim all her children and grandchildren). She was a talented seamstress, sewing everything from holiday-themed pillowcases to "modest" prom dresses.
Her abounding devotion to her family didn't hinder her from serving others. Whenever she was making food, we had to ask her "Is this for us?" knowing that quite often the answer was no -- this was for somebody she felt had greater need. Even still, she would always say "Well -- you can eat the broken or ugly ones." She was always thinking of others, remembering them on special occasions or times of need.
She was devoted to her faith, serving in a Stake Relief Society Presidency, multiple times as a Ward Relief Society President and Primary President. She was also a primary counselor several times, served in Stake and Ward Young Women's Presidencies, as well as a teacher in every auxiliary, and loved being a Cub Scout leader. Through all her service, she said her heart was in primary; she loved little children, and they adored her.
Our hearts are heavy with the loss of our wife, mother, sister, grandma and friend. But we rejoice in the many happy memories we've shared. Her life has made us better.
She is survived by her husband, Rodney; her sister, Mona Peterson; her children: Justin (Leisa) Savage, Amy (Derek) Booth, Colt Savage (Aron Duran), Joshua (Kamilynn) Savage, Sara (Hank) Smith, and Kate Savage (Tristan Call); and 15 grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents, Gordon and Mary Baker; her siblings: Sheldon, Olivia, and Linda Rae Baker; and her granddaughter, Virginia Marie Booth.
Funeral services will be held Friday, April 4, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. at the Bloomington LDS Stake Center, 200 West Brigham Road, St. George, Utah. Visitations will be held on Thursday, evening from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Metcalf Mortuary, 288 W St. George Blvd. and on Friday, prior to services, from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the Bloomington LDS Stake Center. Interment will be in the Tonaquint Cemetery in St. George. Arrangements are entrusted to Metcalf Mortuary, (435) 673-4221.