A Burbank teen who stole the heart of the community with his constant smile and zest for life died unexpectedly in his sleep.
Justin James Savage, 16, was developmentally delayed, but he didn't let that stop him from quickly turning strangers into friends and compiling a long list of girlfriends.
"He was definitely a ladies' man," big brother Jake said as a grin spread across his face. "Every girlfriend I had, he'd take them away from me."
Justin suffered from seizures when he was born, and they lasted until he was 6, and spent a lot of time in hospitals, said his father, Josh Savage. But the seizures were not an issue for the past decade, and Justin seemed fine, he said.
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The Columbia (Burbank) High School student -- he just finished his freshman year -- recently had a physical before competing in the Special Olympics and had no problems, his father said.
Justin went to bed Thursday with his dog, Scooner, like normal, but died sometime overnight in his sleep.
"I'm just sad that he got cut short. I could have shared another 50 years," his father said. "There's no way in the world I'll ever be able to fill the void."
Officials think Justin had a seizure in his sleep that stopped his heart, Josh Savage said. The family requested an autopsy so they know for sure what happened and hope the information could help other families prevent it, he said.
Justin's three loves -- not counting his family -- were women, food and trucks, his family said.
He didn't hesitate to tell the girls, "I love you," and with the guys he always just said, " 'sup!' "
His mother, Lori, said that everywhere they went, Justin knew everyone and would say hi and wave.
"I'd ask him who that was, and he'd say, 'It's a friend,' " she said.
He always was trying to buy someone's truck with change he found and lit up on his 11th birthday when dozens of classic cars were driven to his house by the Retreads Car Club.
When the family got a Jeep, Justin wouldn't stay out of it. He would constantly sit inside listening to music on the street, his father said.
At 5-foot-11, Justin was big, tall and muscular. But to DeAnna Dickenson and the kids in her day care across the street, "He was our big teddy bear," she said.
Dickenson, whom Justin called "Nana," said she met Justin when he was 4 and her family had just moved from Texas. She was watching a game her son was in when Justin went right up to her in the stands and asked what her name was. He repeated that at the next couple of games until he remembered, then he never forgot.
"He was the type of boy you just wanted around," she said. "He brought so many different people together from different backgrounds."
When the Dickensons moved across the street, they became Justin's second family -- or his first when he'd get in trouble at home. Justin even sometimes put Dickenson on his papers at school, DeAnna Dickenson said.
He'd let himself into their house if the door was unlocked, and sometimes he'd eat dinner at their home -- even if he already had dinner at home.
"He wasn't the last at the table anywhere," his dad said with a laugh.
In the neighborhood, Justin was known for waving at everyone who drove by and riding his lawnmower up and down the street. He once tried to trade it with a boy for his bicycle when he ran out of gas, they said.
The first time his mom agreed to let Justin ride to the nearby convenience store, she said she got calls from several neighbors as he rode by, making sure she knew where he was headed.
When he'd go to the SunMart, he would often have only a couple of dollars but somehow managed to return home with a bag filled with goodies, his family said.
Sally Michaels, a clerk at the SunMart who lives near the Savages, said she loved seeing Justin ride by her home every day.
"I've known him since he was a baby. He was the most awesome little baby in the world," she said. "He was just a wonderful little boy."
Justin always kept busy, too, doing yard work or trying to clean the garage.
"Every day, I would hear the door open early in the morning and hear (Justin whisper) 'Dad, what do you want to do today?' " said Josh.
It took Justin "forever" to learn to talk, his dad said, but once he did, he didn't stop.
"He loved to play 21 questions all the time," said brother Jake, 22. "Any little time he could spend with me, he would."
A Facebook page called, "Justin Savage I Remember When," was started after Justin's death and is filled with people posting memories about him. He touched so many people's lives, and that's proof by the comments on the page, said Dan Percifield, head coach of the Burbank Diamondbacks, in an email to the Herald.
Percifield said Justin always would give him a mischievous look when Percifield would see him in school and ask if he was staying out of trouble. Then Justin would asked "Coach Dan" if he could play on the baseball team this year.
The team had a moment of silence for Justin before its game Friday. The high school football team also is said to be dedicating their next season to him.
The Facebook page is public and open to anyone who wants to post or read about Justin. One post, by Karen Klug, summarized what the Burbank community likely is thinking. "If only we could all have the love for life and one another like Justin ..." she wrote. "I feel truly blessed to have known him. What a great loss for all of us."
Justin's family has 16 years full of memories about him that they will share with anyone who will listen. But for those who didn't have a chance to become Justin's new friend, the only thing his mother could say is: "They missed out."
"If there were a happier boy in this world, I'd like to know him," his father added.
Justin's life will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Saturday at Faith Assembly Church, 1800 N. Road 72, in Pasco.