West grad remembered for lasting friendships, athletic ability
by Bob Brownne
Aug 15, 2013 | 8062 views | 2 2 comments | 92 92 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A photo from West High alumnus E.J. Savoy’s Facebook page show Savoy, right, celebrating his 30th birthday with his brother E’lenn.
A photo from West High alumnus E.J. Savoy’s Facebook page show Savoy, right, celebrating his 30th birthday with his brother E’lenn.

It has been more than 12 years since Franklin Eric Savoy Jr., better known as E.J., attended West High, but Savoy, who died on Aug. 6 in a motorcycle accident in Las Vegas at age 30, is still one of the school’s most memorable alumni.

Savoy, who graduated in 2001, was a three-year starting point guard for the Wolf Pack boys basketball team, leading the Wolf Pack to three Valley Oak League titles and two Sac-Joaquin Section championship games. He was a two-time VOL most valuable player in basketball, West High’s Athlete of the Year in 2001, and also quarterback for the West football team and Homecoming King in his senior year.

Ashley Wilkins graduated withSavoyin 2001 and the two were engaged after high school. They didn’t marry, but have a daughter, Ayva, 10, together and have stayed close.

“Being an athlete was just one aspect of him,” Wilkins said. “He was just a standup guy and a great personality.”

Wilkins said that a crowd of about 300 people who showed up forSavoy’s funeral on Sunday, Aug. 11, in Las Vegas, included friends from Tracy.

“It was overwhelmingly heartwarming that so many people were there,” she said. She added that there will be a memorial in Tracy as well, but nothing has been scheduled yet.

Savoy’s father, Franklin Eric Savoy Sr., said that having such a popular son meant West High basketball games were favorite family events.

“He inspired us and he was fun to watch,”Savoysaid. “There was so much of the family involved. It kept us active and happy. It was something to look forward to.”

SavoyJr. leftTracyin 2003 to work with his father in warehousing inLas Vegasand had lived there ever since.SavoySr. said that seeing so many of his son’s high school friends on Sunday was especially gratifying.

“It just showed how many lives he touched,” he said. “A lot of them had a lot of fun stories.”

Kimball High athletic director Steve Thornton, who was West’s athletic director and head basketball coach from the school’s opening in 1993 until 2009, also attended Sunday’s services, and said it was a reunion of the Wolf Pack’s best basketball teams. The service also drew former Tracy High players who competed against West in the years thatSavoyplayed for the Wolf Pack.

Thorntonsaid he still thinks ofSavoyas one of his favorite athletes to coach and one of West’s all-time great athletes.

“High school can be kind of cliquey, but they all liked E.J. because he was that kind of kid. He was friends with everybody,” Thornton said. “I really consider myself blessed to have coached him.”

Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or brownne@tracypress.com.

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August 16, 2013
thank you for this thoughtful article. EJ was deserving of all of the praise that he has gotten over the years. He truly was on of the most kind-hearted people that i ever had the pleasure to know.

EJ is my granddaughter Ayva's daddy. She is bright, beautiful and talented, a chip off the ol' block. She carries his light within her. He will be truly missed by all that had the privilege to call him friend.

August 16, 2013
EJ Savoy was a special young man. I met him when he and my daughter went to the Winter Ball together their sophomore year. He was sweet, kind, and a true gentleman.

I took my daughter to as many high school sports as possible until she started driving, and then she took me. During that time I came to know EJ even better and how truly special he was as a person and an athlete.

He was well respected and liked by students and parents and he will be truly missed for his beautiful smile and kindness towards everyone.

His parents did an excellent job with him and it was a pleasure to interact with them during the games as well.

I remember the stunned look on Mr. Savoy's face at a basketball game after he had promised to buy EJ a new car if he would dunk the basketball during a game. I had the good fortune to be sitting in front of him at the time and when EJ dunked the ball he immediately looked up in the stands at his father's face. I turned sideways and could see the faces of EJ and his dad at the same time. They both had the same shell shocked look but then EJ smiled that smile of his. It was a priceless memory I'll never forget. EJ got his car as promised.

We'll miss you!

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