Dawn Oliva was the wife of Criss Oliva, the original guitarist of the American heavy metal band Savatage. She died on January 10, 2005, at her home in New Port Richey, Florida, after suffering from the injuries she sustained in a fatal car crash that also killed her husband in 1993. She was 41 years old.
The Car Crash that Changed Everything
On October 17, 1993, Dawn and Criss were driving to the Fourth Annual Livestock Festival in Zephyrhills, Florida, when an oncoming car operated by a drunk driver crossed the median and struck their 1992 Mazda RX-7 head-on. Criss was killed instantly, while Dawn survived the crash, but with severe injuries. the drunk driver, who had seven prior drunk driving convictions, was sentenced to 18 years in prison, but was released in 2002.
The car crash was a devastating blow to the fans and members of Savatage, who considered Criss as one of the best guitarists in the world. His brother, Jon Oliva, who was the lead singer and keyboardist of the band, was especially heartbroken by the loss of his sibling and best friend. He later formed a tribute band called Jon Oliva’s Pain, which honored Criss’s legacy and music.
Dawn’s Life After the Crash
Dawn was a loyal and supportive wife to Criss, who married him in 1981. She followed his music and accomplishments with Savatage, and was often seen at his concerts and events. She was also a devout Christian, who shared her faith and love with others.
After the crash, Dawn had to cope with the physical and emotional pain of losing her husband and suffering from her injuries. She moved to New Port Richey, Florida, where she lived with her mother and sister. She also received support from her friends and family, as well as from the Savatage community, who remembered her as a kind and gentle soul.
According to Legacy.com2, Dawn passed away peacefully at her home on January 10, 2005. She was buried next to Criss at the Curlew Hills Memory Gardens in Palm Harbor, Florida. A memorial service was held for her at the First Baptist Church of New Port Richey, where she was a member.
Dawn’s Legacy and Impact
Dawn Oliva left a lasting impression on the people who knew her and loved her. She was a woman of faith, grace, and courage, who faced the tragedy of her life with dignity and hope. She was also a part of the Savatage family, who cherished her as a friend and a sister.
Jon Oliva, who was very close to Dawn, wrote a tribute to her on his official website on January 10, 2006, the first anniversary of her death. He said that he missed her dearly, and that he hoped that she was finally at peace in Criss’s arms. He also thanked the fans for their prayers and condolences, and asked them to remember Dawn as a beautiful person who touched many lives.