John Anthony Spansel Jr., aged 79 years old, passed away on Saturday, November 9, 2013 of cancer. A native of New Orleans born on Mardi Gras Day February 9, 1934, John graduated from Jesuit High School in 1952 and earned his Bachelor of Business Administration and Juris Doctor degrees from Loyola University. John rose to prominence as the Loyola Baseball team's ace pitcher from 1953-56, earning him a place in the Loyola Sports Hall of Fame in 2008. Considered by many to be the best left-handed pitcher in Loyola baseball history, John passed on an offer to play pro baseball to begin his professional career. He trained at Fort Knox in the U.S. Army Armor School for officers and served in the Reserves where he attained the rank of Captain. John spent the majority of his professional career at Martin Marietta/Lockheed Martin where he was Director of Contracts and specialized in government contract law. In 1989 John received Martin Marietta's Jefferson Cup, the corporation's highest honor recognizing superior performance. Following his retirement in 1996, John served for 16 years as President of the Animal Assistance League in Slidell. He and his late wife Mirella also volunteered with the Louisiana Breast Cancer Task Force, and in 2007 they received a Louisiana State legislature commendation for their active role in the fight against breast cancer. John was preceded in death by his parents, Ethel Ohlmeyer Spansel and John Anthony Spansel, Sr, and by his wife Mirella Spansel. He is survived by his 6 children: Mark John Spansel (Joy), Anne Arbo (David), Paul Spansel (Erin), Margaret "Peggy" Spansel, Janet Boudreaux (Ron) of Baton Rouge, and Carol Spansel. Also survived by 9 grandchildren: Laura Gravener, Shelly Howat, Erik, Brett, Sean, Brook, Christian, and Joel Spansel, Jeffrey Cresson, Matthew Arbo, and Jordan, Emily and Joshua Boudreaux and by 5 great-grandchildren: Christian and Collin Gravener, Luke and Michael Howat, and Charles Spansel. Survived by his brothers, Alfred Spansel (Marie) and Michael Spansel (Brenda) of Bay St. Louis. Further survived by his companion Averil Snelgrove and by stepchildren Rodney, Michael, and Gregory Dillon. Family and friends are invited to attend the Funeral Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Slidell at 11:00 am on Thursday, November 14, 2013. Visitation will be from 9:00 am until 11:00 am. In lieu of flowers, donations in John's name may be made to the Animal Assistance League of Slidell, 2700 Terrace Avenue, Slidell, LA 70458. The online guestbook is available at www.gardenofmemoriesfuneralhome. com.
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Published in TheNewOrleansAdvocate.com from Nov. 11 to Nov. 12, 2013