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  • "I am one of his UF kids . . . one of no doubt countless..."
  • "I have many fond memories of the years he led the Baptist..."
    - Dawn Oldham
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    - Karen Highland
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  • "He was a great friend."
    - John Fitzwater
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The "Beloved" Reverend Doctor Otto Maurice Spangler, Sr. passed away on August 3, 2013 at the E.T. York Hospice Center in Gainesville, FL. He was 77 years old.

He was born on May 31, 1936, in Stuart, VA, the only child of Samuel Maurice Spangler and Iris Texas Branscome Spangler. He grew up in Bristol, TN where he met and married his wife of almost 57 years, Harriet Ann Caldwell Spangler.

He graduated from Tennessee High School in Bristol, TN. He received his BA in English from Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, TN, where he was captain of the tennis team. He went on to get his Master of Divinity and Doctorate of Ministry from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY.

He served as a Pastor at Eastview Baptist Church, Elizabethtown, KY. Bethel Baptist Church, Frankfort, KY, Burgin Baptist Church, Burgin, KY and First Baptist Church of Wickliffe, KY. While in Burgin, he was awarded the honorary title of Kentucky Colonel for his service. He then became the first Baptist Campus Minister for Western Kentucky, serving six regional campuses while living in Paducah, KY.

In 1972 he took over the position of Baptist Campus Minister at the University of Florida in Gainesville, where he served for 28 years until his retirement in 1999. He was a conference leader for the Florida Baptist Convention, teaching collegiate ministers from all over the state and nation. He loved to teach the Bible, knowing it was important to understand the meaning of the original Hebrew or Greek text, and frequently was heard to say, "This is one of my favorite verses," as he had many favorite verses. In 1986 he became the UF Chaplain for Gator Athletics and served in that position until 2002. He also enjoyed his time as the Chaplain for the Gainesville Quarterback Club from1972 until 2010.

Athletic by nature, he enjoyed many sports including tennis, Ping-Pong, softball and golf. He was an avid Gator fan, especially football, basketball, tennis and gymnastics. He loved to travel, seeing God's beautiful world. He visited his oldest son who was living in England, and visited his daughter while she lived in Germany, Israel and Russia. He got to see France, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Northern Ireland and Greece, did some mission work in the Philippines, and took cruises to Alaska and the Bahamas. He also visited almost every state in the Union.

Most people remember him for his sharp wit and wonderful sense of humor. He was a great giver of bear hugs and greeted everyone as "Beloved". He was a faithful member of the First Baptist Church of Gainesville, where he served many terms as a deacon and taught Bible Study classes. After his retirement, he also joined the choir where he loved to share his deep bass voice and his love of music.

He is survived by: his wife, Harriet Caldwell Spangler, his children, Otto "Chuck" Maurice Spangler, Jr. (Mary) of Alexandria, VA, Victor Monroe Spangler of Starke, FL, (Ronni) and Elizabeth Ann Spangler Byrd of Gainesville, FL, his grandchildren, Elise Spangler Baugher (Stuart), Cameron Spangler, Christopher Byrd, Joshua Spangler, Bryce Spangler, Bailey Spangler, Heather Spangler, Danielle Spangler, Katie Spangler and Heather Padgett McRae (Michael), and great-grandchildren.

There will be a viewing and visitation on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 from 6:00 P.M. until 8:00 P.M. at WILLIAMS-THOMAS FUNERAL HOME WESTAREA, 823 NW 143rd Street, Gainesville. A private interment will be held Wednesday morning at Forest Meadows Memorial Park Central Mausoleum, 4100 NW 39th Avenue. A Memorial Service will be held at First Baptist Church of Gainesville, 14105 NW 39th Avenue at 1:00 P.M., Wednesday, August 7, 2013, Dr. John P. Fairless, officiating.

In lieu of flowers, Memorial donations may be made to the First Baptist Church of Gainesville, 14105 NW 39th Avenue, Gainesville, FL 32606, or E. T. York Haven Hospice, 4200 NW 90th Blvd., Gainesville, FL 32606.

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me--the task of testifying to the good news of God's grace. Acts 24:20

Arrangements are under the care of WILLIAMS-THOMAS FUNERAL HOME WESTAREA



(352) 376-7556

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Williams-Thomas Funeral Homes Westarea
823 North West 143rd Street
Newberry, FL 32669
(352) 376-7556
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Published in Gainesville Sun from Aug. 4 to Aug. 5, 2013
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