Wilbur M. Spangler
Lebanon - Wilbur Milton Spangler, 90, passed away Thursday March 12, 2020, at the Good Samaritan Hospital. Born July 21, 1929, in Bethel Township (Lebanon County), son of the late Miles Isaac Spangler and Jennie Harnish Spangler, he attended Mt. Zion Elementary School and graduated from Fredericksburg High School in 1947. He earned a BS in education from West Chester State College in 1952 and later got a master's degree from Temple University. He was a veteran of the Korean War, serving there from 1952-1954 as a corporal.
Throughout his life, Wilbur was as avid sportsmen. An ace baseball player, he was accepted by the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball organization in the fall of 1947 as a catcher, attending spring training in Florida with a Dodgers farm team before having to resign due to a chronic shoulder injury. Though his Dodgers career was cut short, he then played for the Schaefferstown baseball team.
Wilbur enjoyed playing and coaching sports for much of his life. As a teacher for the ELCO school district beginning in 1954, Wilbur taught physical education, math and driver education, and at various times coached soccer, basketball, baseball and track. He also started the wrestling program for ELCO and became ELCO's first athletic director. He retired from teaching in 1989, but continued teaching driver training for some years.
Wilbur was a president of the Central Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame and had been a member of the Masons, VFW and American Legion. He enjoyed horse racing at Penn National and for a time was part owner with John Briody of a racehorse that won several times. He's also had a lifelong deep interest in the history and lore of Fredericksburg, including his days working in the poultry industry and his teen years hanging out at Verl's restaurant.
Wilbur married Jane Elizabeth Galbreath in 1958 and together they enjoyed traveling, dining out and trying their luck in casinos across the country, until her passing in 2015.
In recent years, Wilbur continued to be an ardent Phillies baseball fan and enjoyed playing golf on local courses every summer until just a few years ago. Wilbur always looked forward to meeting three old friends for breakfast in local restaurants every Wednesday; Lyle Krall, Rodney Frazer and Bobby Walborn will miss him greatly.
Wilbur is survived by his brother Frederick of Mt. Gretna, husband of the late Nancy Heisey Spangler, and by several nephews and nieces. Wilbur was preceded in death by sisters Annabelle Eberly of Malvern PA (wife of the late Harold Eberly) and Kathleen Heberling of Mt. Zion (wife of the late Herman Heberling).
Wilbur's ashes were interred at the cemetery of the UCC Church in Penryn PA.
Published in Lebanon Daily News from Mar. 19 to Mar. 20, 2020.