Norman "Earl" Spangenberg
1939 - 2017
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Spangenberg, Norman "Earl"

Norman "Earl" Spangenberg, age 78, of Stevens Point, Wisconsin, died at home Monday morning, September 18, 2017.

Earl was born September 10, 1939 in Poterville, CA. The only son of Elizabeth and Norman Spangenberg, he grew up in San Anselmo, CA where he attended grade school and high school. He graduated from Oregon State University where he majored in water sciences and forestry.

He served in the United States Air Force from 1962 - 1966. While stationed at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, MT, he met his wife, Lillian Carlson.

Earl and Lillian moved to Alaska (shortly after their wedding!), for his final year of service in the Air Force. Upon his honorable discharge, they moved to Fort Collins, CO where he received a doctorate from Colorado State University. They then moved to Pendelton, Oregon. It was in these two towns where his children were born, Eric in Fort Collins, and Sarah in Pendelton.

Earl and his family arrived in Stevens Point, WI in 1971 where he taught hydrology and forestry at the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point (UWSP). It was here he made several achievements. He started the first student chapter of the American Water Resource Association (AWRA). He guided the student chapter to create, market, and sell groundwater models that are used all over the country to help organizations recognize the importance of water and how to protect it. He became the national editor for the AWRA Impact magazine and the driving force behind the Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame. Before retiring from UWSP, he was the teacher, mentor, professional resource, and guide to thousands of students, and future hydrologists.

Earl was a loving husband, father, and grandfather. He also had a servant's heart. In between teaching, family, and travel, he volunteered his time with a number of organizations, including community theatre, the local Democratic Party, and as a loyal member of the Episcopal Church of the Intercession.

He loved to travel and explore. His wife and he were the perfect traveling companions. They both enjoyed seeing new sites and learning the history of these places. His travels took him all over this country and abroad; the mountain west (his favorite!), desert southwest, Pacific coast, New England, Germany, Poland, cruises down the Mississippi, Alaska, and Hawaiian Islands . . . the list goes on. No sooner would one trip end, than he would begin to plan and dream for the next.

He also loved gardening and caring for his yard. His tender care of the back and front yards, feeding birds, and worrying about the safety of the chipmunks that invaded his garage every summer will be a fond memory for those who knew him.

He is survived by his wife, Lillian, his two children Eric (Kristie) Spangenberg, Sarah (Lance) Reeve and four beautiful grandchildren that he loved dearly; Nathan, Josie, Jacob, and Jamie. His love and caring for his family will always be remembered and cherished.

A Memorial Service will be held 3:00 p.m. Friday, September 22, 2017 at the Episcopal-Lutheran Community Church, located at 900 Brilowski Road in Stevens Point, WI. A time of Visitation will precede the service from 1:00 p.m. until the time of service at the church.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that gifts of memory be made in honor of Earl Spangenberg to the Wisconsin Conservation Hall Of Fame Foundation Inc., Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra (CWSO) or UWSP College of Natural Resources.

Online condolences may be made at

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Published in Stevens Point Journal on Sep. 20, 2017.
Memories & Condolences
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4 entries
August 20, 2018
I'm so sad to learn of Earls passing. I always enjoyed seeing him and Lillian when they came back to Montana. Lillian and I graduated high school together and she is a dear friend.
Barbara Curtis-Krings
September 20, 2017
We saw Earl and Lillian almost weekly all these years, at church. Earl ALWAYS had time for me. He was involved in the same church things as I was, and we became good friends. Landscaping around Church of the Intercession was his donation, time and treasure. We sure will miss you, Earl.
Jon and Kathy Schommer
September 20, 2017
What can i say, 'Doc' was one of a kind with his bushy mustache and socks/sandles combination. As a student at UWSP, he was a great teacher and mentor that ALWAYS took the time to listen and help. He was very influential in my decision to join AWRA and continue in the water sector.

I wouldn't be surprised if the rain that falls is a little bit cleaner and lands in areas that need it a bit more now that Doc is up there.
Chris DeChantal
September 19, 2017
We had the pleasure of sitting just in front of Earl in church most Sundays for the past six years. He had a beautiful voice not only when he sang but also when he read the scripture lessons or led the "Prayers of the People". We will miss his voice and his quiet, yet strong spiritual leadership.
Mike and Rebecca Albert
Mike and Rebecca Albert
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