Richard J. “Dick” Spangler, 91, of Florence Township, Wilmington, passed away Saturday (Nov. 17, 2018).
He was born May 21, 1927, in Symerton, Richard Joseph was a son of Joseph Grover and Mary Angela (Baskerville) Spangler. He was raised in Florence Township; attended the Symerton School and went on to Joliet Township High School for two years before transferring to Wilmington High School.
At the age of 17, Dick worked at the shipyards in Seneca before entering into the U.S. Navy. He honorably served in the Pacific Theater of Operations during World War II on the USS Birmingham and was a Kamikaze survivor. Upon his honorable discharge, Dick returned home to Florence Township, where he farmed for the remainder of his life, actively until the age of 89.
On Nov. 29, 1952, Dick married Mary Patricia Benson in St. Mary’s Church in Joliet. Together they made their home and raised their family in Florence Township. Aside from farming, Dick always remained active, and, during the years, worked at the Paper Mill in Wilmington and the Joliet Arsenal during the Vietnam War and labored in construction during the winter months for Ray J. Benoit Construction.
An avid boater all of his adult life, Dick belonged to the Joliet Yacht Club, Punta Gorda Isles Yacht Club and the Charlotte Harbor Yacht Club. He enjoyed wintering in Punta Gorda, Fla., with Pat for nearly 40 years, and the Christmas season was one which Dick enjoyed not only decorating at home but his boat. His other memberships included: St. Rose Catholic Church in Wilmington, Wilmington VFW 5422, Wilmington American Legion 557, Knights of Columbus – Fr. George Kuzma Council, Punta Gorda Elks Lodge and the Kamikazi Survivors Club.
One whose age never impeded his hobbies or interests, Dick loved to ride his Harley Davidson, which he acquired at the age of 75 and rode until the age of 85. He also took pleasure in keeping up with technology, especially social media, and was sure to never miss Monday night WWE wrestling.
Throughout his rich and rewarding life, Dick made the most of each and every moment he was given. He was a man of honor and courage with a strong work ethic that remained well into his sunset years. With a life that spanned times of war and times of peace, times of plenty and times of want, Dick Spangler leaves behind a priceless collection of memories, none more important than that of a husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.
Survivors include his wife of 66 years, Mary “Pat;” four children, Joseph (Nola) Spangler, of Wilmington, Robert Spangler, of Moline, and Thomas (Kathy) Spangler and Diane (Tom) Housman, all of Wilmington; eight grandchildren, Mike (Tracy) Spangler and Rick Spangler, all of Bettendorf, Iowa, Jennifer (Dan) Morris, of Godley, Jackie (Rob) Park, of Manhattan, Brian (Danielle) Spangler, of Avon, Ind., Ashley (Ben) Ingram, of Wilmington, Tiffany Housman (fiance’ Mike Sokolowski), of Aurora, and Jimmy Housman, of Wilmington; eight great-grandchildren, Reece, Carter, Alivia, Miley, Lexi, Makayla, Jackson and Gavin; one sister-in-law, Lori Spangler, of Rock Island; one brother-in-law, John (Kathy) Benson, of North Ft. Myers, Fla.; nieces and nephews, Tom (Vicky) Spangler, of Wilmington, Sheryl (LaDarcy) DaRosa, of Downers Grove, Jane (Jeff) Bonick, of St. Petersburg, Fla., and Jimmy Benson, of Atlanta; and one special cousin, Rachel Riley, of Chicago; as well as Danny Nugent, who not only helped Dick on the farm for many years, but was like a son.
Preceding him in death were his parents; father-in-law and mother-in-law, Roy and Blanche Benson; brother, James Spangler; sister, Mary K. Spangler; special aunt, Ruth Baskerville; and special cousin, Mary Riley.
Visitation will be from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 23, at Baskerville Funeral Home, 700 E. Kahler Road, Wilmington. A Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 24, in St. Rose Catholic Church in Wilmington. Burial, with military honors, will be in Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Wilmington.
Memorials may be made to St. Rose School or Kuzma Care Cottage. Please sign his online guestbook at baskervillefuneral.com.