CASTLE PINES, Colo. —Jerry Spradling, 82, loving and dedicated husband and father, of Castle Pines, Colorado, died peacefully at home on Dec. 31, 2019. He was born May 19, 1937, also at home, in Kewanee, Missouri, to Berniece Laura (Barry) Spradling and James Hughston Spradling.
He is survived by his children, Philip Spradling, of Atlanta, Georgia; Mark Spradling, of Frankfurt, Germany; and Mary-Anne Gerlach, of Elizabeth, Colorado, as well as three grandchildren, a great-grandson, and an older brother, James Spradling, of Napa, California. He was preceded in death by his wife of 59 years, Sabra Lee Spradling, whom he adored, and a younger brother, Robert Spradling.
Jerry grew up in rural southeast Missouri, in a world his children would later find difficult to comprehend. He met Sabra in grade school when both were appearing in the lead roles of a production of Sleeping Beauty. They were inseparable thereafter and married in 1958. After graduating from Southeast Missouri State College (now University), Jerry and Sabra moved to Midland, Michigan, where he began a successful, 38-year career with the Dow Chemical Company. His exemplary dedication and hard work led to many promotions over the decades, as well as periodic relocations to Texas, New Jersey, and Brazil. In 1998, after his retirement, Jerry and Sabra ultimately settled in Colorado to be near their grandchildren. Never comfortable with idleness, Jerry stayed active during retirement and served for many years in leadership roles in his homeowner’s association and local municipal board.
Jerry was kind, humble, generous, and respectful of others, including those with whom he might disagree. He, in turn, was respected and adored by many. He was quick to smile, loved a good laugh, and had a subdued, yet clever wit. At times an imposing and intimidating disciplinarian in the early years of fatherhood, as the years passed it became apparent that, in truth, he was a softie.
Jerry was not prone to complaint, self-pity, or excessive speech; he led by quiet example. To his sons, on many weekend afternoons potentially threatened by lawn duty, he displayed a shocking degree of persistence and fortitude, invariably starting the lawnmower they claimed was broken.
Nonetheless, Jerry did make time for fun. He enjoyed sports, particularly basketball, in which he excelled in high school and considered coaching, and golf, for which his zeal exceeded his talent. When the children were young, he bought a boat, and the family made multiple trips to lakes and rivers from Texas to Michigan. Jerry loved to water ski and spent hours towing the kids and Uncle Bob behind “Miss Ruth.” Sabra typically stayed ashore.
Though not particularly inventive with their names, Jerry loved animals and was crazy about his dogs. As a child he had a chow named “Chow.” Glued to him over the last few years was a little black poodle named for a poodle he and Sabra had owned in the past. “Coco 2” was at his side when he passed away.
Jerry was a two-time cancer survivor; once in 1996 and again in 2008. Despite living with chronic pain and a number of medical problems over the last few decades, Jerry remained his stoical self to the end and rarely complained. Friends, family, and doctors usually had to pry symptoms out of him.
After cremation, Jerry’s ashes will be contained with Sabra’s. A graveside service in New Madrid, Missouri, for the immediate family is anticipated for summer 2020.
In the spirit of his love for animals, donations may be made in Jerry’s name to the Humane Society of the United States ( https://www.humanesociety.org ), the Denver Dumb Friends League (http://www.ddfl.org/), or MaxFund (https://maxfund.org/).