Gordon D. Sponseller
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MANSFIELD: Gordon D. Sponseller of Mansfield, passed away Thursday, May 9, 2013 at the age of 88, following an extended illness. He was born July 11, 1924 to Helen (Stiger) Schiefer in Bucyrus, Ohio. Gordon graduated from Holmes-Liberty School in Bucyrus in 1942 and was Senior Class President.
He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps following graduation and served as a side gunner/radio operator on B-24 Liberator bombers assigned to the Pacific Theatre during WWII. Gordon loved flying and obtained his pilot license while in high school. Following WWII, he obtained his commercial and flight instructor certifications and was employed at Richland Aviation, teaching new pilots and transporting planes. He retired from the Air National Guard in 1982 after 34 years of service.
Active in ham radio, he was first licensed in 1948 as W8BZR, then later as N8BZ. He was active in the Inter-City Amateur Radio Club providing emergency communication in natural and man-made disasters. He was one of the first members of WOEYE, The Eye Bank Net, whose purpose was to locate and help distribute eye tissue to those in need. Gordon frequently talked with friends, both locally and around the world. After retirement, Gordon enjoyed traveling around the United States, learned to golf and scored a hole-in-one in his first year of playing. He was self-taught in computers and the Internet and most recently, found great pleasure in flying radio controlled airplanes and helicopters.
He married Theora Jean Smith on February 7, 1952 and they recently celebrated their 61-year wedding anniversary. The First Church of the Brethren was most important in his life. Since 1956, he was very active in all aspects of the church. He was Deacon for over 20 years and lovingly served in many other capacities throughout the past 57 years.
In addition to his loving wife, Gordon is survived by two children, Deana (William) Spurling of Mansfield and Dale (Sek) Sponseller of Mansfield; two grandchildren, Brock Spurling of Lexington and Amy (Michael) Wourms of Cincinnati; a sister-in-law, Virginia Schiefer of Bucyrus; a brother-in-law, Bernard Smith of Mt. Solon, VA; and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his mother, Helen Schiefer; step-father, Ellis Schiefer; and brother, Richard Schiefer.
Friends and family may visit from 4-7 p.m. Monday, May 13, 2013 at the Diamond Street Home of Wappner Funeral Directors, 98 S. Diamond St., Mansfield. The funeral service will be held Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. in the funeral home with Rev. Delbert Kettering and Rev. Clyde Fry officiating. Burial will follow in Mansfield Memorial Park. Memorial contributions may be made to First Church of the Brethren Kitchen Fund, 889 Grace St., Mansfield, OH 44905.
Online guest registry at www.wappner.com
Published in the Telegraph-Forum on May 11, 2013