George Spell, 89

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 22, 2009

George J. Spell, 89, of Sun City West, Ariz., passed away on Aug. 9, 2009, in hospice at his home care facility in Sun City West with his family in attendance.
Mr. Spell was born in Decatur, Ill., on May 28, 1920, to James and Georgia Spell. In 1926, the family moved to Albert Lea, where he attended grade school and graduated from Albert Lea High School with the class of 1938. Both parents preceded him in death. When George was 16, he attained the rank of Eagle Scout under the supervision of his Boy Scout Leader, J.M. Snyder. Upon his return from military service in 1946, he continued in the family business of Phil’s Cafe on East William Street as owner. He attended classes at the University of Minnesota, where he became a championship tennis player, a skill he wielded long after his college days, becoming a recognized club player throughout California and Connecticut. It was during these early years that George began his love affair with aviation, becoming a certified pilot.
Lt. Cmdr. Spell served in both World War II and the Korean conflict as a member of Naval Air Intelligence. Most notable was action he served as a pilot aboard the aircraft carrier, the USS Valley Forge CV-45. Although not a great lover of the sea, George was known to be an excellent pilot and served in the Navy for more than 20 years. After his service to country and while still in the Reserves, George took a job with the Honeywell Corp., rising to vice president, before his retirement in 1984. He took great pride in his involvement in the entire space programs but most notably NASA’S Apollo Program that landed men on the moon. Knowing that a Honeywell guidance system helped land them safely was source of great pride, even after his retirement.
Survived by his wife of 61 years, Helen (Emmons) Spell, of Sun City West; son, James George Spell and wife Pam and grandson, Clinton James (C.J.) of Eagle, Colo.; daughter Stacy Sanden Spell and partner Thorn Macpherson, of Orinda, Calif.; two sisters: Angeline Pappas and Catherine Brown of Bloomington; and many nieces and nephews.
George Spell was buried in Arizona with full military honors. A celebration of his life was conducted immediately after the ceremony attended by family and friends.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to your local hospice care facility or the Disabled Veterans Fund.

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