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obituary
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Jacob Savitt spacee Jacob Savitt

Jacob "Jack" Savitt, a longtime Belvedere resident, died Jan. 31 at Marin Convalescent and Rehabilitation Hospital in Tiburon of complications of Alzheimer's disease. He spent his last days surrounded by his family. He was 90.

Mr. Savitt was born in Hartford, Conn., and grew up there. He graduated from Weaver High School in Hartford. He was 18 when the U.S. entered World War II and he joined the U.S. Army Air Forces, hoping to become a pilot, but due to his nearsightedness, he was assigned the post of weatherman instead. He served at stations in India and Burma for three years.

When he returned home after the war, Mr. Savitt enrolled at Carnegie Institute of Technology — now part of Carnegie-Mellon University — in Pittsburg, Penn., graduating with a degree in physics.

He and his wife, Beverly, met at Carnegie, and they were married in 1946. She went on to become an attorney and a Marin Superior Court judge.

Mr. Savitt began his professional career in Washington, D.C., at the National Bureau of Standards, now the National Institute of Standards and Technology. In 1950, he transferred to the Naval Research Laboratory nearby where he began working in the science of explosive technology. For the balance of his career, he specialized in the sensitivity and use of explosives.

In 1961, Mr. Savitt established his own company, Explosiform Inc., where he developed innovative and creative uses for explosives. For one of his most interesting commissions, he was hired by a local artist to use his techniques in the formation of a metal sculpture.

In 1960, at the behest of his wife, a Democratic committeewoman, he attached helium balloons to a large sign reading, "Kennedy for President" and released the sign, which rose into the sky as then-candidate Richard Nixon was giving a speech in Park Forest, Ill.

In 1965, the Savitts moved to Belvedere. Mr. Savitt established a new laboratory at Fort Funston in San Francisco. In 1972, he made his last career move, to Lockheed Aircraft, where he worked until he retired in 1998.

Shortly before his 60th birthday, he fulfilled a lifelong dream by getting his pilot's license. He flew a Cessna 172 all across the western U.S., making sure to fly up the Colorado River and through the Grand Canyon.

The Savitts' travels took them all over the world, but he also took his children on many camping trips closer to home throughout their childhood.
Mrs. Savitt said her husband would be remembered for his unique mind, deep and contagious laughter, his generosity to his family and his zest for life. She said he was devoted to her and her family.

His passions included physical activity, Zionism, music, poetry and travel, and, according to his wife, he could beat anyone at a game of horseshoes.
In addition to his wife, Beverly Savitt of Belvedere, Mr. Savitt is survived by two children, Chuck Savitt of Washington, D.C., and Susannah "Suzy" McNamara of Monterey; and two grandchildren, Nona Savitt and Nathan McNamara. His brother, Harry, predeceased him.

A celebration of his life will be held at 1:30 p.m. March 28 at The Cove House at San Francisco Yacht Club in Belvedere. To attend, send an email to bbsavitt@pacbell.net.

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