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Louis Joseph Spengler

Obituary for Louis Joseph Spengler

July 31, 1917 - September 20, 2018
San Antonio, Texas | Age 101

... always wanted to make the world a better place ...

Obituary

Louis Joseph (Jerry) Spengler was born July 31, 1917 and passed away September 20, 2018 in San Antonio, TX. He was the only son of John Henry and Gertrude (Schorp) Spengler and a descendent of German pioneers who came to Texas in 1842.

In 1918, Jerry survived an attack of double pneumonia in a plague that swept across the U.S., killing over 100,000 people. His survival was due to the tender loving care and many prayers offered by friends and family. Coming from a devout Catholic family, Jerry was enrolled in St. Ann's parochial school, spending five years before transferring to St. Mary's Academy, a boys' school run by the Brothers of Mary. It was located where La Mansion Hotel now stands on the banks of the San Antonio River. In 1932, the school moved to N. St. Mary's Street where it still is located. Jerry had won a scholarship and so continued at Central Catholic High School until he graduated in 1934 at just 16 years old.

Because of the Depression, he enrolled at St. Mary's University, riding the bus to Westmoreland College and walking a mile to the university and back again after classes. He graduated cum laude at 19 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Commerce. In 1940, he received a Bachelor of Science degree in English, also at St. Mary's.

After working at various jobs during the depression, Jerry became Assistant and then Advertising Manager of Sears in San Antonio.

World War II was imminent so Jerry enlisted in the Naval Reserve and was called to report to Notre Dame University in 1942, then to Northwestern University where he was promoted to Ensign and ordered to a ship in the South Pacific. He reported to the President Jackson in New Caledonia in August 1942 and spent the next nine months on the ship as a Deck Officer. The Jackson was an amphibious combat landing ship working in the Guadalcanal-Solomons area providing men and materials for the troops ashore in the battle. As the war progressed, the troops and ship moved into the forward areas.

At this point, new amphibious ships called Landing Ship Tanks (LSTs) appeared and Jerry was transferred to the LST 390. After the Solomons campaign, Jerry was ordered back to the States for a brief leave, promoted to Captain of a new LST 681, picked up a green crew, trained them, got on the ship at Pittsburg, and headed down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans. There he trained briefly, then got a combat load and headed through the Panama Canal and on to Pearl Harbor.

After Pearl Harbor, Jerry and the LST 681 proceeded to the Philippines via Hollandia, New Guinea, landing at San Pedro Bay. From there the ship participated in U.S. landings in the Linguayen Gulf where troops were based for retaking Manila and freeing the Philippines.

LST 681 then trained for the big landing on Okinawa just a short distance from Japan. Air and surface action was heavy and long but the Allied forces prevailed. Following that, the LST 681 and many other ships were on their way with orders for the invasion of Japan when the U.S. dropped one and then another atomic bomb, effectively ending the War.

Jerry was then promoted to Operations Officer at Pearl Harbor and spent the next five months returning LSTs, materials, and men to the USA. In January 1946, Jerry was relieved from active duty after nearly four years spent mostly in the forward areas. He received many decorations and six battle stars for participating in major campaigns. Jerry remained active in the Naval Reserve, ultimately ranking as Captain and senior line officer of the ten Navy Reserve installations in San Antonio. He retired from the Navy in 1977.

After the war, he married Wilma Lois Derden in 1947 and they had three daughters, Laura Louise, Nancy Elizabeth, and Linda Ann, whom they raised with great joy and love.

In civilian life, Jerry utilized his writing skills in public relations and advertising and served as Manager of Public Relations for City Public Service for 22 years, working on their plant expansions and the South Texas Nuclear Project. He retired in 1982. During those years, he also received an advanced Master of Business Administration degree from Trinity University in 1968.

Jerry participated in many civic, patriotic, and charitable projects during all of his working life. He was an avid hunter and fisherman, a tennis enthusiast, choir singer, and a devoted follower of University of Texas sports.

After the death of his wife, Jerry was fortunate enough to meet and marry Beverly Judson White, whose parents had known the Spengler family for many years. Jerry and Beverly enjoyed traveling and living in their residences in Alamo Heights and Rockport for nearly two decades.

Jerry is survived by Beverly, his wife, and her daughter, Anne White Flores; his daughters – Laura Wolf, her spouse Richard W. Wolf, and grandsons Richard, Andrew, and Jeffrey Wolf; Nancy Spengler and her spouse Ralph M. Gagliardi; and Linda Deason and her spouse Russell D. Deason.

Above all of his wonderful accomplishments during his life, Jerry will be remembered for his total devotion to family, friends, church, community, and country. He always wanted to make the world a better place, which it was for having him in it for 101 blessed years.

MASS OF THE RESURRECTION
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2018
11:00 A.M.
ST. ANTHONY DE PADUA CATHOLIC CHURCH
102 LORENZ
RECEPTION TO FOLLOW
FR. KEVIN SHANAHAN OFFICIATING

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Porter Loring Mortuary

1101 McCullough Avenue
San Antonio, TX 78212
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