Farmer Jack’s life celebrated

Up to 100 people attend a “celebration” funeral for “Jack” John Sage.

Family, friends and neighbours joined together to celebrate the life of local historian and retired dairy farmer “Jack” (John) Sage.

Up to 100 people attended the “celebration” funeral of Jack, who died on 18 November aged 97.

Four generations of the Sage family, including his widow Florrie and youngest great-grandson Zachary, 15 months, were present.

The funeral was held at St Mary’s Parish Church, Luppitt, where Mr Sage had been a life-long member and had served as treasurer and Church Warden for more than 50 years. He was also an expert bell-ringer.

The congregation heard that Jack and his wife Florrie had been happily married for 73 years. They met at Sunday school.

Mr Sage’s son Fred told the congregation that his father had specifically stated that his funeral should be a celebration rooted in the Christian hope.

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“After I’d made arrangements for the church bells to be muffled, I found ten sheets of paper written by my father,” he said.

“The first page was his thoughts about what should happen today.

“We’ve just sung the hymn he chose (“God be with you till we meet again”). I’ve read the Psalm he chose.”

He then added that his father, a devout Christian, stated that his funeral should be “a triumphal celebration”.

“There should be no muffles. Ring the bells! And that’s what we’ve done.”

The Rev Kevin Chandra, who took the funeral, spoke of Mr Sage’s faith, hope and “immense life”.

“He was born on August 14, 1914, into a farming life — and there’s a tough life to lead.

“He went to school in Combe Raleigh and then to Queen’s College in Taunton.

“Apart from his time in Taunton, he lived in Luppitt all his life.

“The war years came and he served in the Home Guard, rising to Sergeant. He was also a Special Constable for 25 years, also rising to Sergeant.

“He was treasurer and Church Warden in this church from 1943 to 1997.”

The Rev Chandra added that Jack Sage was also a noted local historian who had painstakingly researched and recorded the history of Luppitt.

He was the author of “Luppitt: Parish, Church, and People”, which spanned the 1,000 years of the parish’s known history.

Hundreds of meticulously indexed pages of historical information, uncovered by Mr Sage over many decades, was deposited with the Devon Record Office in Exeter.

Jack Sage was laid to rest in Luppitt churchyard immediately after the funeral.