MATTHEW I. SPETTER
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SPETTER--Dr. Matthew Ies died peacefully at his home on December 30, 2012, surrounded by his family. He was 91 years old. Born in the Netherlands he participated in the Dutch resistance during World War II until his capture by the Nazis. He was imprisoned in several concentration camps including Auschwitz and Buchenwald. A witness at the International War Criminal Trials in Nuremburg, Germany, and a part of G2 and G3 American Intelligence, he was awarded the Resistance Cross by the Government of the Netherlands. In 1951, Dr. Spetter and his family moved to the United States where he became involved in the Ethical Culture Society. He became a Leader of the Riverdale Yonkers Ethical Culture society for a period of 40 years and the Chairman of the Department of Ethics for the three Ethical Culture schools. He also taught at the Encampment for Citizenship of the American Ethical Union. Dr. Spetter worked for human rights, civil rights and international peace. He was an associate professor at the Peace Studies Institute and the Department of Religion at Manhattan College, a very active member of the community and a founding member of the Riverdale Clergy Council. As a Clinical Member of the American Association for Family Therapy, and as a therapist, Dr. Spetter understood the importance of mental health. He founded the Riverdale Mental Health Clinic in 1960, an important community resource today. Dr. Spetter was also an author of numerous, annotated lectures regarding what matters about life, radio programs and publications including his books The Courage to Stand Alone, Man the Reluctant Brother and To Deny the Night. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him or simply heard him speak. The reach of his words and his work is vast. Dr. Spetter is survived by his son Job, Job's wife Gina and their sons Chase and Job Robert, his daughter Ruth and step-children Connie Boykan, Rick Berke, Gary Berke and Wendy Berke Hall and their respective families. Dr. Spetter's daughter Sanne and wives Suze, Ina and Sylvia predeceased him. In lieu of flowers, donations in the memory of Dr. Spetter may be made to the Riverdale Mental Health Clinic or the Riverdale Yonkers Ethical Culture Society. A memorial service will be held later in 2013. Please contact The Riverdale Yonkers Society for Ethical Culture for details.


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Published in New York Times on Jan. 6, 2013.
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13 entries
February 19, 2013
Dr Mathew Spetter--A perfect GENTLEMAN in all meanings of the word.
Marion & Murray Reinhertz, formally of Hastings Drug, Hastings-On-Hudson,NY
January 31, 2013
"Grandpa Spetter" as we lovingly referred to you and will forever speak of you! Your words during our marriage ceremony will always be remembered! Thank you for being such an important person in our lives! We love you dearly!

Jeremy and Tania R.
Tania Roopnarine
January 16, 2013
Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal. ~From a headstone in Ireland Our deepest sympathy to the Spetter Family on the passing of their grandfather who they loved and spoke so highly about. Although we never had the pleasure of meeting him, the stories told thru his grandson's eyes are beautiful as they hold the utmost respect and love for this man. We are sorry for your loss and our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire family. Our deepest sympathy, Frenchman's Harbor by Toll Brothers.
Ann Cusa
January 13, 2013
I will always remember Dr. Spetter with his pipe and his warm strong voice and kind presence on Sunday mornings at the Ethical Culture Society in Riverdale. He was a special person for me in my childhood. My heartfelt condolences to his family.
Johanna Rosenfield
January 10, 2013
I love Dr Spetter and was inspired by him for fifty years and was privileged to publish his books
Eric D Offner New Hyde Park NY
Eric Offner
January 8, 2013
I send deep sympathy to Dr. Spetter's family at the passing of this inspirational man. Dr.
Spetter taught us Ethics at the Fieldston School and from him I learned about war, peace,
struggle and the lessons to be learned from The Holocaust (which he fortunately survived.) He was a "primary source" of ethics and courage.
Katrin Belenky
January 8, 2013
Dr. Spetter was one of the most amazing ethics teachers that I had at Fieldston. Through him, I learned many life lessons - some I knowingly refer to even today, many I am sure I dont even remember him teaching. He truly was a light to us all. One of my fondest memories of Fieldston teachers.
Ricky Snow Arbron
January 8, 2013
ies spetter was a wonderful man with an extraordinary history. he told me in detail about it and i wrote - in dutch - about him in the dutch weekly 'de groene amsterdammer'. it is so inspiring how he transformed his terrible experiences in a very positive perspective. it is a message that gives us much to think about.

a jewish expressipon is; let his memory be a blessing! i am sure it is true in his case
max arian
amsterdam, holland
max arian
January 8, 2013
Dr. Spetter was a dear mentor and profound inspiration for my Ethical Culture leadership. I will miss him and call him to mind often.
Anne Klaeysen, Leader, New York Society for Ethical Culture
Anne Klaeysen
January 7, 2013
I remember Ethics classes with Dr. Spetter more than 50 years ago as part of the Fieldston curriculum. I think my classmates would agree that although we didn't completely know it at the time, what we learned then would remain with us and guide us for the rest of our lives. We never discussed it but I was aware even then of his wartime heroism and admired him so very much.
C. D.
January 7, 2013
We are so sad to learn of the passing of our neighbor and friend. He was a wonderful presence in our lives and of our children and an inspiration to us all. An incredible life and legacy. We send our condolences to his family and especaily to our friend Job.
Beth and Richard Lewis
January 7, 2013
Dearest Ruth,
So sorry to hear about your father's death. He was an amazing man.
Carolann Rule
January 7, 2013
Dr. Spetter inspired me to join the Riverdale Yonkers Society for Ethical Culture (RYSEC) at a time when I was seeking a place to raise my children. He held a naming ceremony for my older daughter Julia. After his "retirement" (he never really retired) from RYSEC in 1994, I continued to keep in touch with him especially for his wisdom and ethical advice.
I will miss him.
John Benfatti
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