Toy Savage Jr., an attorney, former state legislator and key supporter of EVMS, has died at the age of 96.

Mr. Savage was a strong advocate of the school who often worked behind the scenes. He chaired the Norfolk Medical Center Commission that led the effort to create what would become the state’s third medical school. In 1964, the attorney and former member of the Virginia House of Delegates helped craft the legislation that created the Eastern Virginia Medical Authority, the forerunner of EVMS.

Thirty years later, as EVMS was preparing to award him an honorary degree in recognition of his work to help found EVMS, Mr. Savage reflected on his involvement.

“Nothing can give a person greater pleasure than to do good work by stealth and afterward have it discovered,” he said in 1995. “Those of us associated with the establishment of this school more than 30 years ago are extremely proud of the success of those charged with the responsibility for its management.”

Even after the legislative success, Mr. Savage continued his support. Beginning in 1964, he served as the first Vice Chair of the newly constituted Board of Commissioners that would oversee efforts to set up the new school. Mr. Savage remained involved with the school as a long-time member of the EVMS Foundation Board of Trustees.

“Mr. Savage was a humble yet insightful leader,” says Richard Homan, MD, President and Provost of EVMS and Dean of the School of Medicine. “He embraced the idea of creating a new medical school, in spite of significant opposition, because he understood what the school would mean for the health of the people of southeastern Virginia.”

Wayne Wilbanks, Chair of the EVMS Foundation Board of Trustees, worked alongside Mr. Savage for a number of years.

“Mr. Savage and a handful of community leaders championed EVMS and then laid the groundwork for an institution that has become essential to the health of Hampton Roads,” Mr. Wilbanks says. “We are indebted to him for his vision, his courage and his conviction.”

For more about his impact on the community, read the Virginian-Pilot obituary.