Estlinbaum, Savage tabbed man, woman of the year

Incoming Chamber president Aaron Fox, left, stands with Craig Estlinbaum, center and last year’s Man of the Year honoree Tim Powell. Estlinbaum was named Man of the Year at the Bay City Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture banquet Thursday evening. (Anthony Maenza photo)

District Judge Craig Estlinbaum and Matagorda County Hospital District’s Renee Savage were named Man and Woman of the Year respectively during Thursday’s Bay City Chamber and Agriculture annual banquet.

Incoming Chamber president Aaron Fox praised the two honorees for their work in the community.

“The Name Man and Woman and the Year is a bit deceiving, you might think with these titles it would be a person that has been outstanding during the single year,” Fox said. “That is not the tradition for our Man and Woman of the Year, in the past our Man and Woman of the year has been someone that has contributed to the betterment of the community for many years, not a single year. It has been someone who is a leader in many organizations.

“Our past winners have been the true leaders for all of Matagorda County, it is someone who has been active in our community as well as other communities in our county,” Fox said. “Matagorda County is a special place with many deserving people. We have true leaders everywhere doing amazing things.”

Estlinbaum attended Kindergarten, elementary, junior high, and the Bay City High School. 

“Our man of the year had two passions growing up - deer hunting with his family and baseball,” said Tim Powell, last year’s Man of the Year honoree. “He learned the importance of volunteering at a young age from his parents. The legendary Bay City High School Coach Eddie Nelson played a big role in this man’s early life, one of the biggest accomplishments were back to back state basketball tournaments.”

In high school Estlinbaum was a member of the Boy’s Interact and was senior class president.

“Our man of the year was very involved in the Babe Ruth program,” Powell said. “Both as a player and later as an adult. Some of his favorite memories are of coaching Babe Ruth Baseball with his brother and many friends over the years. Our man of the year stills keeps up with many of the young men that he coached and is always happy when he runs into someone who calls him coach.

“He was one of the main reasons Bay City was able to host so many Babe Ruth tournaments including three Southwest Regional Tournaments,” Powell said. 

Estlinbaum graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in Agricultural Economics. 

Before he left College Station he had earned his Master’s degree.

Estlinbaum started his career in San Antonio, where he was a Commercial Real Estate Appraiser. In 1991 he moved to Houston to attend the South Texas College of Law.

Estlinbaum served as the Editor in Chief for the South Texas College of Law Review during his third and final year of law school. He graduated with honors and worked for a law firm in Houston for three years before returning to his hometown. 

Estlinbaum has served on many boards including the Library board and the Crisis Center.

He is a longtime member of the Bay City Rotary Club and works every year with the entertainers.

“You can always find him at the Civic Center making sure every detail is set for the entertainers,” Powell said. 

Estlinbaum was the Democratic Party Chair from 1998 to 2000. He was elected to the 130th District Court in 2000 and continues to serve the community as District Judge. 

Estlinbaum is a member of First United Methodist Church of Bay City, where he serves as on the Praise Team. He is married to Julie.

“He is crazy about his daughter, Shelbie by the way she insisted we say that part,” Estlinbaum 

Savage was born in Wharton and moved to Bay City at the age of 12.  She attended Bay City High school and was active in basketball and track, where the Lady Cats were close to the State title two years in a row finishing in second place. 

Savage attended Wharton County Junior College where she obtained an Associate’s Degree in Nursing in 1983. 

Savage has been with the hospital district since 1979 when she began her career as a Pharmacy Technician. She moved to Emergency Services and Critical Care as a Registered Nurse in 1983, and enjoyed a distinguished career that ultimately led to her current role in 2010. 

She has nearly 40 years of medical and healthcare administration experience.

Savage was instrumental in bringing emergency medical services to Matagorda County. 

She serves on the board of directors for Houston Hospice, Inc., and is the President of Flora Study Luncheon Club. 

Savage was instrumental in the grant writing, business planning, and construction project management that yielded the new MRMC Wellness & Rehabilitation Center and the hike and bike trail.

“Together with her wellness crew, the team actively promotes wellness in our community,” said Marilyn Sitz, last year’s Woman of the Year honoree. 

Savage leads ancillary service operations for the Matagorda County Hospital District. 

She also co-chairs Wellness Matagorda County Inc., which is an organization committed to promoting community wellness. 

Savage has her sights set on a countywide effort to bring Matagorda County an Aquatic Center.

She is married to her husband Kirby Savage, and has four children, Michael Griffith, Scott Savage, Andrew Griffith, and Sarah Savage. 

Our woman of the year has six grandchildren, Grace, Leighton, Walker, Landyn, Sadie and Charlotte.

Savage was unable to attend the banquet due to being on vacation in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico on a cruise ship.

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