Rudolph William Savich

May 31, 1955April 30, 2019

Rudolph William Savich died unexpectedly but peacefully at home on Tuesday night in the company of his loving family. Rudy was an attorney in Bloomington for almost 40 years and always said he aspired to be a “country lawyer,” helping people navigate the byzantine system of the law, fighting foreclosures and creditors, and planning estates for folks who didn’t have much. He was a passionate environmental steward, aiding in the win against the PCB incinerator in the ‘90s and losing a 20-year battle to save family farms from I-69. Later in life, he became an advocate for water quality with the Friends of Lake Monroe.

Rudy was born on May 31, 1955, in Chicago to Elisabeth (McNair) and Theodore Rudolph Savich and spent his formative years in Rensselaer, Indiana, with his three older sisters: Marge Thrasher, who preceded him in death, and his surviving sisters Susan White (James) of Bloomington and Paula Savich of Charlotte, North Carolina. He graduated from Rensselaer Central High School in 1973. He was a conscientious objector and remained an absolute pacifist for his entire life, saving his strongest expletives for describing the idiocy of war. He moved to Bloomington to attend Indiana University, where he studied psychology and mathematics.

Rudy is survived by his wife Elizabeth “Bet” Dougherty Savich and two children, Rachel Oser (Phil) of Bloomfield and Theodore “Tio” Savich (Mallory Cohn) of Bloomington. He was completely moonstruck when he met Bet at IU. They married in August 1977, the same year he began studying at Mauer School of Law. Rudy and Bet also started an organic farm on Boltinghouse Road where they raised hogs, produce, and their children.

After the family moved to town, Rudy began a career as an endurance athlete. He swam, ran 19 marathons, rode his bicycle from Pensacola to Bloomington, and criss-crossed the state north to south and west to east on his bicycle for various charities. He found peace in pushing his body over long hauls.

After Rachel and Tio flew the coop, Rudy and Bet moved out to Lake Monroe, where they remodeled a junky old cabin into a perfect spot to watch “bird TV.” Rudy and Bet collected birdsongs, wildflowers, and mushrooms together on long hikes and kayak trips with their dog Pokey. Whether canoeing with friends down Sugar Creek with a cooler of Budweiser or diluting Wild Turkey with cool water from an ancestral spring, Rudy never separated his appreciation for nature’s beauty from his own search for meaning and fun.

Rudy called himself a “closet Christian,” choosing Matthew 6:6, where Jesus says you ought to pray in your closet, as the orienting principle of his faith. Following his own creed, he kept his religion to himself, but lifted his voice in joyful song, worshiping at the Church of Love in the Spirit of Fun, singing the Grateful Dead, bluegrass, hymns, and Irish ballads with verve and splendor. He named his guitar “Sweetie,” and it had a warm tone that matched his spirit. That warmth was reflected in the many friendships he cherished.

A funeral will be held on Monday, May 13 at noon at the Sycamore shelter of Lower Cascades Park. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Friends of Lake Monroe.


  • Friends of Lake Monroe


  • Funeral Service Monday, May 13, 2019


Rudolph William Savich

have a memory or condolence to add?

John McDowell

May 11, 2019

It was my class on Chicano folklore, an even mix of Mexican American students from the region and outsiders interested in this ethnicity, and there was Rudy among them, in the end, one of the best students in the class. Those qualities of compassion and engagement were endemic in Rudy, and I saw much of them as we continued to interact over the years. I have always thought of Rudy as a fine human being -- a kind of template for where we need to be if we aspire to make things good on this planet.

Nancy and Larry Lux

May 9, 2019

Dear Bet and Family,

The Savich Family has always meant so much to us. When Rudy took off on one his bike trips I always said a payer for him. Watched Rachel and Theo grow up. You Bet were a wonderful wife and mother Rudy was a blessed man.

You all will be in our thoughts and prayers,
Nancy and Larry

Bob Brothers

May 7, 2019

Over the years, Rudy filed numerous Chapter 13 cases in the Indianapolis Bankruptcy Courts, all in an effort to reorganize the debt problems of his clients. Serving as the appointed Chapter 13 trustee in Rudy's cases was always a pleasure and an honor for me. He was quite a guy and will surely be missed by many. My sympathy to Rudy's family and his many friends.

Kathy Streer Seidler

May 6, 2019

So many’s hard to choose one...many fond memories of Rudy playing his guitar with friend Jeff Salyers while Bet and I sang and danced...mostly Grateful Dead songs, Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker...Bill Munro. Also driving in his green Ford Pinto with Bet to Philly for their wedding. Singing there too. He also taught us how to make “home brew”.

Teresa Snyder Rishel

May 6, 2019

Rudy and I rode the bus together in elementary school - starting in 1962. We have been buddies ever since, with a short gig as boyfriend and girlfriend in the 6th grade. I was mad about him. Our friendship evolved over time, and with the invention of Facebook, we picked up right where we left off. He adored his wife and children, his life, his cabin and his love of singing. How I will miss those serenades on Facebook! I will miss his rants, his forever wisdom about a variety of things, and his sweet, gentle nature. His passing is such a shock and brings such sadness. I still cannot wrap my head around it. Rudy - you were the best!! Rest in peace, my forever friend. (Bet - sending you a ton of love and support for the very difficult journey ahead).


Ellen Fujawa

May 6, 2019

I was so sorry to hear of the unexpected passing of Rudy. I met him initially when I prosecuted in Johnson County in the 90's and then he appeared in front of me when I was a bankruptcy trustee. I ran into him frequently on the Bloomington square downtown when I was visiting my daughter and we always exchanged greetings. He was a kind and pleasant person and I cannot absorb his untimely death. It sounds like his was a life well lived.

Ellen Fujawa

Louis Schlesinger

May 5, 2019

My condolences to Bet, Rachel, and Tio, as well as Susan and Paula.

Rudy exemplified how a human being can be great. He did the right things the right way. He was this wonderful mix of being serious, responsible and fun loving. He had an intense, keen intellect but he put it in service of a loving heart and steadfast moral compass. Definitely Ted and Elizabeth's son, and terrific husband & partner to Bet, father, brother, and friend. I was honored to have him as my brother-in-law when I was married to Paula.

Rudy lived big in the time he was given. He got after it. I wish for the Savich family's sake he'd had more time. But I take some comfort that he finally saw the Cubs not only make to the World Series but win it. He was the first person I thought of when that happened. I'm not a Cubs fan but, vicariously, I knew his joy and relief.

Lou Schlesinger

Sally Jones

May 4, 2019

Bloomington is a better place to live thanks to Rudy. His dedication to helping those displaced by the Interstate Highway 69 debacle and his true love of the natural environment of this place are everlasting. We will truly miss him and remember his wonderful smile, our time as neighbors and his generous and patient soul. Our arms and thoughts are around you, his family now. Take good care and may your memories comfort you. Sally Jones & Frank Young

Vern and Lori Dosmann

May 4, 2019

We didn’t know Rudy but read his obituary in the paper. It was very touching and certainly one of the best “celebrations of life “ we have seen. We wish we had known him and almost felt like we did after reading his beautiful life story. Sending our sympathy for your loss.

Barbara Toddy

May 4, 2019

Dear Bet,

I was so sorry to hear of Rudy’s passing. He was one of the most genuinely kind, honest and fair-minded people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Barbara Toddy