Robert Spiegel of Kensington, CT was born in Brooklyn, NY on May 2, 1934, lived and subsequently died. Most of his noteworthy accomplishments happened in said middle part. A Professor Emeritus in the English department at Central Connecticut State University, Robert had the rare distinction in his career of receiving five grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Over the course of 43 years of teaching, he introduced countless neophytes to the wonders of the well-written word, passionately teaching the likes of Dostoyevsky, Vonnegut, Gogol, Gibson and virtually everyone in between. The final, and an immensely popular course he taught, was that of the literature of baseball. This was thinly veiled therapy to alleviate the trauma he sustained from coaching arguably the worst little league team in recorded (or unrecorded) history and from the sufferings he endured from 40 years as a devout Mets fan. Robert was a frequent Op Ed contributor to the Hartford Courant and NY Times, the latter of which, much to his chagrin, seemed to have long since relaxed the standards of its crossword puzzle. Also known to pen a poignant letter on subjects deserving, Robert was awarded the annual "Letters Writer Award" by the Hartford Courant in 1997. In addition to his university teachings, he also led popular book group discussions at the Peck Memorial Library. The son of Nathan and Kate Spiegel, Robert is survived by the love of his life, his wife Ursula; his daughter Lisa Billa and her husband Jayadev Billa, of San Jose CA, parents of his grandsons Vishal, Vivek and Tejasvin; and his son Jeff (who if nothing else to show from his lineage, inherited his father's sardonic sense of humor) and his wife Vivian Yu, who ambitiously reside on Ambergris Caye in Belize. In addition to his immediate family, he is survived by his father in law, Dr Gerald Blank and his wife Deenie; his brother in law Hellmut Herdey and his wife Karin, his brother in law Dr Michael Blank and his wife Dr Marlene Eisenberg; his sister in law Naomi Blank; niece Lilo; nephews Chris, Elijah and Isaac and his dear cousin Edward Solomon. Robert was predeceased by his parents; his brother Charles; his mother-in-law Lilo Blank; and his niece Dawn. Also departed before him was (were?) a bevy of beagles, all eternally loyal to their benevolent master, if not lacking a tad in their own intellect. At the end of his life, Robert battled with cardiac disease and dementia. Where as the disease did thankfully erase most memories of the '62 Mets season, it eventually also claimed his life. Bedside vigil was fueled by lively conversation, background music of Jimmy Buffet and Bob Marley, chicken curry and the occasional smuggled glass of Glenlivet. On November 30th, 2011, with his family by his side at the Hospital of Central Connecticut, Robert Spiegel passed away peacefully at the age of 77. Funeral services were private. Contributions in Robert's memory may be made to the Peck Memorial Library of Berlin, CT or to the Humane Society of Meriden, CT.
A celebration of Robert Spiegel's life will be held this spring (date and time to be announced) at Central Connecticut State University. Spicy food and good single malt will be served, casual attire expected. The Paul A. Shaker / Farmingdale Funeral Home, 764Farmington Avenue, New Britain, Ct. has charge of arrangements. To extend condolences to the Spiegel family or to share a memory of Robert, please visit our website @ shakerfuneralhome.com