Phillip Andrew Sperl
The soul of my husband, Phillip Andrew Sperl, took flight June 18, 2020. He was where he loved most - at home - with his daughter Kimberly, son-in-law Alan, his beloved dogs and, of course, me...his companion of 40 years, by his side.
Born in 1939, Phil was a lifelong Oregonian who was raised on a farm and lived a rural life in the Willamette Valley. He loved nature and the outdoors, gardening, hiking, camping, biking, flying his Cessna 182 or his paraglider wing, world travel, kiln glass artwork, tennis and racquetball. His favorite musician was Leonard Cohen...favorite author, Jose Saramago.
His restlessness was evident in his work. He served a hitch in the US Navy, worked several years as a licensed aircraft mechanic, a farmer then retail/service business owner. He was an overall generalist. In his words, "good at most and a master of none".
Phil was a complicated soul, which - to all those who have known and loved him - is clearly an understatement! He was a self-made man; independent to a fault; entrepreneurial; a maverick; definitely a free-thinker. His love of learning never waned - his love of reading never abated. Restless, skeptical and often impatient, he was always looking for the next mountain to climb or a new path of life to explore. He was never satisfied with the status quo and refused to stay in a rut.
One passion of his life was helping/serving others which he accomplished through 35 years devoted to Rotary International (District Governor) and the East Salem Rotary Club (club President twice), doing community service both at home and abroad. He WAS the Rotary Motto of SERVICE ABOVE SELF. With a focus upon hands-on projects (reforestation, water projects etc.) in Mexico and Guatemla (25 trips to Guatemala alone!), he achieved great satisfaction and made life-long friends. Other avenues of service included CASA and mentoring students through the ASPIRE program. And if that wasn't enough, he joined the Willamette University Institute for Continued Learning. As with EVERYTHING he did, he jumped in, joined committees and contributed wholeheartedly. That was my Phil!
Last September, we celebrated Phil's 80th birthday. Friends from near and far came and spent the weekend. He was in good health, great spirits and had the time of his life. THAT WAS THE ULTIMATE IN PERSON CELEBRATION OF LIFE, one he could be here to enjoy and ultimately the only one he would want. Thank you to all who were able to join us!
FINAL THOUGHTS: The strength of Phil's will to live was inspirational. His gratitude for, and love of, living an abundant and fruitful life in our free country never wavered.
Phil is survived by his wife, Barbara, 3 children from a previous marriage (Kim Bronson, Mike Sperl and Pam Austin), 6 grandkids (Cassandra Wells, Ben Austin, Blake Austin, Ellen Sperl, Anita Sperl and Isaac Sperl) and 2 great grandkids (Connor and Lincoln Wells). Son-in-law Alan Bronson and daughter-in-law Mary Sperl. Sisters Carol Perry and Andrea Mackey. Nieces Julie Norrander-Schmidt, Shelly Randall, nephew Carey Noteboom. His niece Debra Norrander tragically died in 1980 and nephew Rick Norrander sadly passed away in 2018.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donating to the East Salem Rotary Foundation 2007 State St. Salem Oregon 97301.
Published in The Statesman Journal from Jun. 28 to Jun. 30, 2020.