Jillian (“Jill”) Suzanne Savage was born on January 28, 1984, in Martell, NE; and she resided in Nebraska for the majority of her 34 years of life, until she passed away on May 4, 2018. Jill attended Humann Elementary School and Pound Middle School, in Lincoln, before advancing to Lincoln Southeast High School.
An avid reader and an acutely critical thinker, Jill thrived in her studies and found solace in her books. Many Southeast alumni have fond memories of conversing in the halls and attending classes with Jill, because she was one of those students who felt like school was the best thing ever. She was also incredibly lovely to be around. After she graduated from high school, Jill attended Miami University, in Ohio, before transferring back to Nebraska. She received her bachelor’s degree in English Composition and Rhetoric from University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), in 2007.
Jill’s first job after college was as a women’s advocate at the Friendship Home—a safe haven for domestic violence survivors. Jill also spent many years leveraging her impressive linguistic and writing skills to help others—so much so that she was awarded a prestigious Fulbright grant, in 2010, to teach English at a middle school in South Korea. Jill was selected based on her contributions to UNL’s Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Experiences (UCARE) program and her treasured experience tutoring a student from South Korea. Jill briefly considered pursuing a master’s degree in library science. Undoubtedly, she would have been a gifted librarian if she would have pursued it.
Jill’s talents and interests certainly were not limited to the wonderful world of words (although her vocabulary was definitely unparalleled by most!). Jill’s repertoire of skills and charms far exceeded the average person’s; she excelled in everything that she ever tried. Her loved ones could also tell you that Jill would never have said that about herself, because she was far too humble to realize how extraordinary she truly was. Jill had so many passions and talents that she struggled to prioritize just one, which was one of her most endearing qualities.
Shortly after graduating from college, Jill began taking life sciences prerequisite courses for graduate school. She sought to combine one of her other great loves—science—with her commitment to helping others. Jill also worked for the State of Nebraska in public health, for four years, before leaving to pursue her passion for medical technology. And, she spent nearly nine years merging her interests in language and science by providing freelance writing and editorial services for peer-reviewed journal submissions. Jill contemplated pursuing several different health sciences graduate programs in her later years, including nursing. She also considered veterinary school and a horticulture program, because her passion for helping others extended far beyond humans—to the animals and plants that brought her so much joy. When she passed away in 2018, Jill was providing freelance writing and editorial services as well as working at Marz Bar.
Jill was a rare light in this world—a true force of good and kindness whom her loved ones will always remember and cherish. She was not only fiercely intelligent, but also tremendously funny, immensely compassionate, exceptionally generous, eclectically timeless, and unbelievably strong. Jill was a selfless person who was steadfastly and unassumingly committed to helping others and doing her part to make the world a better place, in both small and big ways. She wholeheartedly believed in serving one’s community, rather than just oneself. Jill also had a way of making people feel better about themselves. She inspired those around her to be their best selves, while maintaining pride in their identities and quirks. Above all else, Jill was an awesome friend who had a gift for making people feel special, as demonstrated by the multiple childhood friendships she maintained throughout the course of her life.
Jill had spunk, as well as a sense of humor that could put a smile on your face in a heartbeat; she also had a wildly infectious and mischievous laugh that could carry across a room. Jill made people laugh, incessantly, until their bellies hurt from the giggles. She could write you a personalized, heartfelt, hilarious, and thought-provoking poem, school you in the intricacies of gardening and soap making, teach you the tricks of “animal whispering,” and arm you with the wittiest jokes. Jill was also an amazingly talented and graceful ballet dancer, and she found a great deal of comfort in music—especially when strong female artists were involved. If you were feeling blue, you could count on Jill to cheer you up by breaking out into song—perhaps to The Muppets’ hit sensation, “Mahna Mahna,” or Pat Benatar’s classic, “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.” She was unapologetically and delightfully authentic. And, somehow, Jill made ordinary things enchanting (just ask her friends about her strategically mismatched outfits, her “old lady shoes,” her captivating doodles, or her fabulous homemade soaps!).
“Love is the last and secret name of all the virtues.” -Iris Murdoch
Jill was deeply loved by those whose lives she touched; and the world has been profoundly changed by her time on this earth. While her time with us was too short, Jill made a lasting impact on her corner of the universe; and her memory will forever remain burned in our hearts.
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