June 13, 2013
The News Times
Lincoln City, OR 97367
Richard J. Spath
Richard J. “Dick” Spath 82, Depoe Bay, OR died peacefully of lung cancer April 5, 2013 at Hillside House Assisted Living, Lincoln City, OR with his wife at his bedside. He was born May 7, 1930 in St. Louis, Missouri, the third of four children born to Edward Louis Spath and Margaret Rose Fargo.
He graduated from McBride High School in St. Louis in 1948 and attended St Louis University and Washington University, both in St. Louis and graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in chemistry from University of Missouri, Columbia MO in 1956.
Following high school graduation he joined the U.S. Navy and after basic training at Great Lakes Naval Base, served on board the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Leyte for one year, then was a member of the Naval Reserve while a student. He was called to active duty again during the Korean War where from 1952-1954 he served on the U.S.S. Lake Champlain, also an aircraft carrier. He was honorably discharged after a total of four years, five months in the Navy.
He accepted a sales position with Union Carbide Chemical Company after receiving his Bachelor of Science Degree and moved to New York for training. He remained with Union Carbide for thirty years, working in sales and later, sales management. As a technical representative, he sold a variety of chemicals and resins to many different industries throughout the country. In 1977 he was promoted to Area Sales Manager with oil field and gas treating chemicals his specialty.
After his period of training in NYC, he was transferred to Chicago where he met his future wife, Jan Carolyn Cook. They were married October 4, 1958 at the Fullerton Covenant Presbyterian Church in Chicago, IL and became the parents of Nancy Carolyn and John Edward.
Working for a large corporation meant many moves for Dick and his family. They were transferred from Chicago to Atlanta, GA, and after a move to Chattanooga, TN, they later built a home overlooking a lake at nearby Ooltewah, TN. Those moves were followed by transfers to Columbia, MD; Mission Viejo, CA; Pleasanton, CA and finally Dallas TX where they remained for nine years. He took early retirement in 1986 and for the first time he and Jan could choose their new location and they chose Oregon’s central coast and built their home near Depoe Bay.
As a teen Dick played soccer and baseball and later began playing both golf and his favorite, tennis and was a certified SCUBA diver. Music, especially jazz, was an important part of his life. He was actively involved in his children’s schools and activities as a member of PTA, swim team booster club and coach for both Little League and soccer. After moving to Oregon, he was an active member of the homeowner’s association, serving as an officer and on the board of directors. Until the last few years, he continued playing tennis at least once a week.
He was an intelligent, well spoken, though private person, who enjoyed his years of retirement because he never felt defined only by his job. No matter where the family lived or traveled, he could be counted on to research the area as thoroughly as possible. The family made several driving trips across the United States, but later his favorite vacation area was the Caribbean and a windjammer trip was his choice for the perfect cruise. Never too old to enjoy Disneyland Dick and Jan’s 50th wedding anniversary was spent there with their family. He lived a full, happy, busy life for nearly 83 years,
He was preceded in death by his parents and eldest brother Edward. He is survived by his wife Jan; daughter Nancy (Robert) Davis, Oakland, CA; son John, Austin, TX; grandchildren David (Joy) Balemi and Alex and Alicia Davis; brother Donald and sister Shirley D’Agostino and several nieces and nephews.
The Spath family wishes to thank the staff at Hillside House, Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital and Hospice and 911 responders for the attentive care given to Richard. No services are planned, but remembrances may be sent in his name to the American Cancer Society or to the michaeljfox.org site for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.