John Arthur Spears Jr., Colonel US Army (Retired) beloved husband, father, grandfather, and brother passed away peacefully on July 22, 2014 in his home in Colorado Springs, Colorado after a 2 month battle with Leukemia. John was born in Maryville, Tennessee, January 10, 1949 to the late John Arthur Spears and Ruth Ryan Nance.
John graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1971, and subsequently earned a Masters in Business Administration from Yale University, as well as a National Security Fellowship from Harvard University. John honorably served his country thru 26 years of military service as an Infantry Officer in the United States Army. John retired from the Army in 1997 at the rank of Colonel, and held numerous leadership positions including Director, Center for Army Leadership and Brigade Commander in the 2nd Armored Division where he commanded a tank brigade with over 3,000 soldiers and 500 combat vehicles.
Upon retiring from the Army, John translated his military experience to lead a very successful career in military, government, and corporate consulting by facilitating leadership, strategic planning, and accountability workshops world-wide. John was diagnosed with leukemia in May during one of his bi-annual trips to China, where for over 12 years, he taught an MBA leadership class to students at Fudan University in Shanghai, Southwest University of Finance and Economics in Chengdu, Tsing Hua University in Beijing. John also hosted hundreds of Chinese student visits to the United States Military Academy at West Point and the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis.
John made a profound impact on thousands of lives throughout his personal and professional life. Upon hearing the news of John's condition, the Dean of SWUFE in Chengdu was quoted as saying "John was the best MBA professor at SWUFE, and he is our hero. For more than 12 years he has taught our students and thousands of executives and CEO's have benefitted from his great lectures on leadership."
When John wasn't consulting or teaching, he enjoyed frequent trips to his vacation home in Mexico, and spending quality time with friends and family. John's keen sense of humor will be missed; he was always the life of the party, and never met a stranger.
He leaves behind to cherish his memory, devoted wife of over 40 years, Susan Kaye Eivins Spears, loving children, Shane (Suzanne) Spears of Cincinnati, OH; and Ryan Spears of Lake Mary, FL; adoring granddaughters, Lola Bradley Spears and Lucy Ruth Spears; and siblings Barbara, Bill, Mary Byrd, Libby, Michelle, and April; as well as a host of wonderful cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends.
The Burial Office will be read at St. George's Anglican Church on Friday, July 25th at 10:00am. Inurnment will be held at a later date to be determined at the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project.
Published in The Gazette on Jul. 24, 2014.