SALEM, Va. – Even though his Roanoke Valley business has only been open a couple of years, Chauncey “Ray” Savage leaves behind a legacy much greater.
A memorial full of balloons, flowers and messages of love sits where the young business owner died Saturday night.
Savage, 36, died when his motorcycle collided with a vehicle at the intersection of Williamson Road and Commander Drive in Roanoke County, according to county police.
With other business ties in the Roanoke community prior to the opening of the Cheesesteak Factory, Savage became someone well-respected in the area.
“It’s hard to believe that somebody of that caliber could have died so tragically,” said Jade Saunders.
Savage and Saunders were friends of more than 10 years.
“I started calling his phone and it was going straight to voicemail,” explained Saunders. “We have a group chat – a group of us. We started talking like, “Where is Ray? Where’s Ray?‘”
After the crash, Debbie Fenwick and her daughter, both nurses, leapt into action to try to save Savage’s life. An off-duty cop also stepped in.
“[We were] just praying the whole time for God to breathe life back into that body, and to give us a sign that he was going to be OK,” said. Fenwick.
She and her daughter just so happened to be in the area. The pair were wedding shopping when they missed their turn and were re-routed onto Williamson Road.
Fenwick said she believes she was in the right place at the right time to help in any way she could.
Unfortunately, it was too late. Fenwick said Savage was barely hanging on when medics arrived.
Hours before his death, Savage announced plans to open a new “Factory” location in southeast Roanoke.
Saunders said she and Savage’s other friends and family will work hard to keep his legacy alive.
“He was too much of a big person to let anything he ever built just perish,” expressed Saunders. “I really appreciate him more than he’ll ever know. I’m going to miss him so much.”
Savage will be laid to rest Friday at 2 p.m.
The crash remains under investigation.