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James Slay Savell Jr. was born November 12, 1939 and passed away September 14, 2023, at his home in Jackson, Alabama. Jimmy, as known by most, was preceded in death by his parents, James Slay and Hazel Gill Savell. His early life was spent living in Crichton, where his Daddy ran a dairy. He had vivid memories of riding on the front of his Daddy‘s bicycle as they delivered milk. They later moved to the Indian Springs community, where he played baseball at Semmes School and where he met his bride of nearly 63 years. They married on his 18th birthday. He hadn’t graduated high school, but he earned his high school diploma while in the Army, which he entered in July of 1959. He arrived in Germany Christmas Eve of 1959, where he served as a Military Police Officer the 385th MP’s, 7th Army Honor Guard. By his own account, he was rough, tough, and good looking.
Jimmy retired in 1991 as a mechanic in the woodyard of Scott Paper Co. due to heart issues that plagued him most of his adult life. He never met a car or truck he wouldn’t race, or an engine he couldn’t make run faster. He lived life to the fullest- riding motorcycles, getting his pilot’s license so he could fly June and the kid's places, and even buying a new red Camaro at age 72 and still racing people on the road! If you didn’t know him when he was young, it was hard to believe some of his stories, but they were all true. In many ways, he was larger than life.
Jimmy Savell loved his family, and he constantly told his kids how much he appreciated them. He greatly enjoyed and bragged on the food they cooked, was proud of every deer Jess killed, and never missed an opportunity to say how much he loved them. He loved his grandkids Brandon, Brent, Isabella and Reagan, and great grandkids Brady, Bria, and Vivian, and he enjoyed every minute he spent with them. He loved his son in law of over 40 years, CJ, or as he called him, “Cholly”. He enjoyed making jokes about he and Cholly each missing a thumb, and even told Jerry when he came to ask his blessing to marry Tiffany, that he’d have to pick which thumb he wanted to cut off. He enjoyed coaching Jess in little league baseball as much as he enjoyed playing ball in his younger years. He boxed and taught boxing to Jess and all his friends in the neighborhood. He enjoyed gardening over the years, and there’s never been a better tasting tomato than the ones grown by him. He enjoyed fishing, hunting and camping, which is what he was doing when he had his first heart attack. (He drove himself to the hospital and had emergency triple bypass surgery.) He loved his dogs over the years. They weren’t pets-they were family, and he loved to teach them tricks. Hopefully, he’s reunited with Rufus and Little Bit, now.
He somehow managed to become familiar with modern electronics. He loved his iPad gifted to him by Tammy and enjoyed “policing” everyone in his family group on Life360. He’d call just to say he saw them driving fast or wonder where they were when he didn’t see their location. His family wasn’t quite as amused as him. He loved June. He teased her incessantly. Even after almost 63 years of marriage, they would still squabble over meaningless things, but they had a love that was genuine and deep. In his final time on earth, he wanted June in his sight all the time.
Jimmy Savell wasn’t a rich man by the world’s standards, but that didn’t stop him from helping anyone he could. He never treated anyone who’d had troubles like they were less than anyone else. He didn’t care what color a person was. He didn’t care about their social status. He cared about their soul. He wanted them to make it to heaven and he wanted to meet them at the River Jordan. He never met a stranger, and he was never afraid to share how far God had brought him. He could relate to sinners because he knew he had been a sinner. He had not always lived his life as a Christian, but from the early 90s until the day he died, he never missed an opportunity to be a living witness for the Lord. He walked the walk, talked the talk, and helped win many souls to Christ. That is his legacy. If he was in the hospital, he witnessed to his nurses, custodians, and anyone who entered his room. If he was at the grocery store, he shared the Lord with employees there. Wherever he went, he carried his desire to win souls to the Lord with him.
He is survived by his wife of nearly 63 years, June Bellcase Savell, his three children, Tammy Savell (Charles) Arnold, James Slay (Maureen) Savell III, and Tiffany Savell (Jerry) Taylor; Grandchildren Brandon Arnold, Brent Arnold, Isabella Savell, and Reagan Gomien; Great-Grandchildren Brady, Bria and Vivian Arnold, Sister, Suzanne Savell Morris, and a host of other friends and relatives.
Visitation will be held on Tuesday, September 19, 2023 from 11:00 - 12:00 PM at Valhalla Funeral Home. A funeral service will start at 12:00 PM with interment following in Valhalla Memorial Gardens.