RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – Political candidate and direct mail business owner Richard Savage was found dead in his Cherokee Road home Sunday afternoon. Detectives said they did not suspect foul play in the 51-year-old’s death, Richmond Police spokeswoman Dionne Waugh said.
Savage owned Media Directions, a company that created direct mail fliers for many Democratic politicians.
In addition to helping to other politicians, Savage ran for office himself. Savage lost a bid for Richmond School Board in 2012.
“As I look back on this year and think about all the new friends I have made and the support I received from so many of you, I truly count myself blessed,” Savage posted on his campaign Facebook page in December. “My best to all of you for a safe and prosperous New Year!”
In 2009, Savage briefly ran for the Democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia. He ended his bid after three months citing difficulty raising money for the campaign.
Former Richmond City Council President Bill Pantele remembered Savage in an email to CBS 6.
“He was quite a character. He had a presence in any room, with penetrating eyes and a big smile. Now that smile might be a knowing, mischievous smile, or a gregarious grin, but he loved to be dressed in a black leather coat, arms crossed, sizing everything up with one of those smiles,” Pantele wrote. “He was a creative, imaginative, smart and aggressive guy professionally. Some of the direct mail pieces he created are almost legendary, and in more than a few cases were the difference in the election.”
Pantele said outside of politics, Savage worked to improve his community.
“Frustrated about the lack of athletic support in Richmond’s middle and high schools, Rich formed and funded a foundation to establish a youth football organization for the Randolph neighborhood that through his drive and determination became extremely successful,” Pantele wrote. “He took a great personal interest in the kids, and tried to provide real mentoring and leadership for them. The response was impressive and inspiring, so much so that even some of the rougher elements became fans and cheerleaders for his program. He was rightfully very proud of that work, and pushed to expand the program to other areas and neighborhoods. He really believed in the potential of every kid, and they loved their ‘Coach Rich.’
“He loved his family. He loved to talk about his girls, and was always a proud dad. His loss is a huge shock and loss for everyone who knew him. It’s a tragedy, and my heart and sympathies go out to his family,” Pantele wrote.