Colleagues remember ‘Marv’ Sauger

By: Maria Allard | Warren Weekly | Published January 23, 2024

 Marv Sauger

Marv Sauger


MACOMB COUNTY — Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel remembers, as a child, the friendship his dad William Hackel had with Marvin “Marv” Sauger.

Sauger and the elder Hackel became friends when they both worked for the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office.   

“I knew him back when I was a kid. Marv always wanted people to feel comfortable around him,” Hackel said. “He was a cop’s cop. He was tough enough but compassionate. As rough as he looked, he was always joking around and making people laugh. You were fortunate to get to know a person like him.”

Hackel is among those mourning the loss of Sauger, who died from illness Jan. 22 at a local hospital, just a few days shy of his 87th birthday. The Macomb County Board of Commissioners released a statement following his death.

Sauger, of Center Line, was known in the community for having two different roles. In the early 1960s, he began a career in law enforcement when he took a job with the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office. After 26 years of serving and protecting the public, he retired as a sergeant in 1987.

“He always helped out the new guys,” Hackel said of the novice police officers the department hired.

Sauger then became involved in local government and ran for public office in the 1990s. The Democrat served on the Macomb County Board of Commissioners from 1996 to 2020; his district covered Center Line and a portion of Warren. While on the board, he held the positions of sergeant-at-arms and vice-chair of the board. He chaired the Ethics Committee and served as the vice-chair of the Budget, Operational Services, Community Services, Administrative Services, and Courts & Clerk/Register of Deeds committees.

“I am saddened to hear of the passing of my friend and longtime colleague on the Macomb County Board of Commissioners,” Macomb County Board of Commissioners Chair Don Brown said in the statement. “I had just spoken with Marv and he seemed to be on the rebound, joking around. We were planning lunch.”

Brown described Sauger as “a role model” who treated everyone with respect and dignity and was always willing to lend a helping hand.

“Through his long and productive life, Marv helped change the lives of so many for the better through things such as his service in law enforcement and as a County Commissioner representing the neighborhood where I grew up in Warren,” Brown said. “He was a good man.  This world needs more people like Marv Sauger.”

Outside of politics, Brown said Sauger was a talented woodworker.

“He restored my most treasured possession, which had been passed onto me by my great-grandparents from Belgium,” Brown said. “It sits in my kitchen today so all can see it and I often tell others that it was he who restored it for another 100 years.”

Hackel and Sauger often had lunch together, usually in Warren or Mount Clemens. Hackel visited Sauger in the hospital two days before he died. The Macomb County Executive was able to show him photos of the new Macomb County Jail that will be built.

“He got to see the design of the facility,” Hackel said. “That made him smile.”

He said Sauger was quite an athlete who often participated in softball games with the Sheriff’s Office.

“He was a beast on the softball field,” Hackel said. “I never saw anyone hit a softball that hard. I think there’s still a (ball) circling the planet.”

Over the years, Sauger also served as chairman of the Center Line Recreation Committee; sponsored Warren and Center Line youth baseball teams; was a lifetime member of the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge No. 187; was a member of the Knights of Columbus; and was involved in local Red Cross blood drives.

Andrey Duzyj, of Warren, served on the Macomb County Board of Commissioners with Sauger for about 10 years.

“He wasn’t a flashy, showy guy. He didn’t care about accolades or having his name in lights,” Duzyj said. “He was just a plain, regular good guy. A really, really nice fellow. I’m very saddened by all of this, and I’ll miss him.”

According to Duzyj, Sauger was responsible for suggesting the board hold an annual meeting with all Macomb County elected officials from other offices, including those in the Michigan Senate, the state House of Representatives and the U.S. Congress. Duzyj said it gave the county’s elected officials the opportunity to connect.

“(They) came from Lansing and Washington,” Duzyj said.  “It was good to hear the other side of things and be able to talk about solutions to problems.”

Something Duzyj always appreciated from Sauger was his ability to make sense of things.

“He had a very interesting point of view. I think his years as a sheriff’s deputy helped him have common sense,” Duzyj said.  “He’d hear about a problem, take care of it and move on. I don’t care if you were a Democrat, Republican or independent, he would work for the betterment of Macomb County.”

State Sen. Veronica Klinefelt, D-Eastpointe, who served on Macomb County Board of Commissioners with Sauger, fondly remembered him.

“Marv was a gentleman and was very kindhearted,” she said. “His entire career was spent in Macomb County government serving the people here. He really loved Macomb County.”