Robert W. Sage

Robert W. Sage

Robert W. Sage, retired school principal, passed away in Medford, Ore., August 24, 2012, of natural causes. He was 92.

Except for his service in World War II, he was a lifelong resident of Table Rock and Medford. He enjoyed two long marriages, to Anne Kostarelos Sage, and then after her death, to longtime friend of the Sage family, Joan Ray Sage, who was herself the widow of Eugene Ray, DDS.

He was born in Medford, the son of Charles Weldon Sage and Rose Nealon Sage, and grew up on the family farm property near Table Rock. He had four siblings, Edith, Ruth, Norma, and Dan, and an extended family of aunts, uncles, and cousins who lived on the adjacent farms. He attended the Table Rock School, then Medford High School, graduating in 1937.

He attended Southern Oregon College of Education while supporting himself with farm and orchard jobs, truck driving with cousin, Steve Wilson, hauling livestock to Portland, Ore., and San Francisco, Calif. He was drafted into the Army in 1942, and then served four years, including a period in combat during the Battle of the Bulge in the 87th Division of the Third Army. He was awarded three battle ribbons. He credited his surviving the war to the lucky assignment of being a messenger, a job that required no engagement with the enemy but staying alive to get the message through.

While stationed in Boston, Mass., prior to being sent overseas, he met and married Anne Kostarelos in 1943, the daughter of Greek emigrants to America. They were married 55 years, living at Table Rock and Medford until Anne's death in 1998. They had three children, Susan Penelope Flenniken (husband John Flenniken), Peter Sage (wife Debra Lee), and David Sage (wife Lynn Ferguson Sage).

Robert Sage had a 34-year career as an educator, teaching at Jackson Elementary School, and then principal at Gold Hill Elementary. In 1955, he moved to the Medford School District, where he was principal at Washington, Roosevelt, and Wilson schools. He retired in 1980. Throughout his long retirement people approached him to ask, "Are you Mr. Sage?" He understood the question signaled that at one point he had been the person's principal.

During his working life and long retirement he served as a volunteer Community Fundraiser helping to get the Rogue Valley Memorial hospital built in the 1950s, a board member of the United Way and CASA, a volunteer at Project Misdemeanant, a member of the Jackson County Board of Equalization, and many volunteer roles at the United Methodist Church in Medford where he has been a member since 1955. He taught Sunday School for youth, and with Omar Bacon, Vern Wolthoff, and Gordon Morris taught adult classes. For many years he led classes for a Methodist Men breakfast group.

He was a member of the Medford Rotary club since 1976, and for many years regularly sat at a table with other club members coincidently named Bob, creating "the Bob's table."

He enjoyed fishing and hunting with fellow Medford principal, Bob Baccus, and golfing with many friends. In his youth and young adulthood he played baseball for teams at Table Rock, in the Army, and church leagues. His favorite position was catcher.

In his later retirement years he wrote and published his memoirs, "Memories of a Table Rock Boy," which recorded stories of his childhood, youth, Army experiences, long marriage to Anne, and his career in education. Throughout his life he retained a keen memory of the people, places, and incidents from his life.

After Anne's death his life was enriched by his marriage to Joan Ray. Together, Robert and Joan stayed active doing church and volunteer work, gardening, canning food, playing bridge, and cribbage, visiting and hosting an extended family, and enjoying 14 years in their home on Dellwood Avenue.

Robert Sage outlived a great many friends from his years as an educator, but is survived by thousands of students and hundreds of fellow educators. In addition, he is survived by siblings, sister Norma Matteson; and brother, Daniel Sage; grandchildren, great-grandchildren, cousins, nieces, nephews, and the large extended family of Joan Ray Sage.

A memorial service will be held Friday, August 31, 2:00 p.m., at the First United Methodist Church, 607 W. Main Street, Medford.


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