ANTHEM-ARROYO GRANDE, Arizona — Lucian Peter Spataro (Lou) of Anthem-Arroyo Grande, Arizona, passed away on Saturday, June 8 at the age of 87.
He is survived by his son, Lucian Jr.; his wife, Guang-zhen; his daughter-in-law, Lori Spataro; his brothers, Carl and John Spataro; and his sister, Katie Tiso.
A former longtime resident of Athens and professor at Ohio University, Lou was a caring Dad to his sons John and Lucian Jr., a father-in-law and friend to Lori Spataro, a devoted husband to his loving wife Guang-zhen, a son, a brother, and a good friend to many. For everyone who knew him, you knew him as a man who worked very hard and was committed to his family and friends, and who would move heaven and earth to support them while working hard to insure we had what we needed to walk on our own two feet.
He received his Ph.D. in Business Administration from the University of Illinois-Champaign in 1965 and taught at Ohio University for over 30 years before he retired as Professor Emeritus. He made outstanding contributions to the profession by nurturing his students, many of whom went on to success locally and internationally as well. He consulted all over the world, wrote for many academic publications, and served in professional leadership positions and as the President for the American Business Communication Association (1978).
In looking back, as a son, I will be especially grateful to him for fostering in me an appreciation for reading, which in turn became a passion while in parallel he championed my interest in nature. At an early age, he relented to my incessant requests to have a horse at the young age of eight, the need to rescue countless baby wild animals, rabbits, pigeons, every make and model of turtle you can imagine, a pet raven, raccoons too many to mention, an opossum, a dog named Skipper, and he spent days and nights caring for these animals; and whenever possible accompanying me on many learning experiences that would inevitably result in me taking home “just one more” pet.
I learned from my Dad that life isn’t as much about what you do as it is about how you do what you do. For my Dad, the how was far more important than the what and for this reason, the “how” is how he will be remembered. He taught me how life is all about the memories and the friends and family you meet along the way. How we should always lead by example. How we should look at every challenge as an opportunity and always do the “right thing” because you can never be wrong if you do the right thing. How we should do everything 110 percent and always shoot high for an A so if we miss we will still get a B. How taking short cuts will often only bring you to a bad place more quickly. How I should take well calculated risks and then pursue those endeavors with enthusiasm and planning. How when you win, you should always thank those who helped you along the way. How life is about choices and you are where you are because of the choices you make, so he said, “make good choices.” I will be forever grateful for these HOW’s and his very dry sense of humor which often targeted me but kept me centered or so he claimed. I learned all of this from him and much more, but if one thing stands out, it is simply this: do whatever it is that you do really well because the how we do what what we do, will be the measure of the person we become.
I will always remember that he would ask before anything else, “how are the horses doing?” only because he knew the horses were important to me and for him it was always more about me than about him and it was this subtle selfless caring attitude that I am hopeful has brushed off on me as well. As his disease progressed over these last months, he continued to joke and in an effort to bolster our spirits he would ask about friends and memories from years before and even though the daily conversations became ever shorter his welcoming smile remained. For these friends, I want to thank you and if you are reading this, please tell one another of how he spoke fondly and often of all of you over the years. We have years of memories that we will cherish of a man who was simply, the best guy ever, and we are who we are today because of him and for this we are so very grateful.
He struggled for these last months with the final stages of a debilitating disease which robbed him of his physical abilities while leaving him still mindful, and even though it was probably the most frustrating experience a person can endure and a family can watch, his strong nature prevailed and his valiant struggle buoyed our spirits. He never gave up and he fought this battle with valor.
As I sit here writing about my Dad and wondering, I think that experience we call “life” may best be described as quite simply smoke flowing through a keyhole, a streaming set of experiences that flow very quickly through a very narrow space in time leaving wisps of memories everywhere, some of which are more vivid than others simply because they can in a brief moment, just take your breath away. For myself, our family and Dad’s many friends, this is one of those moments and we are breathless.
Love you Dad, your son Bub and family, your extended family, and friends.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the John Spataro Memorial fund www.johnspataro.com which was established in honor of my brother to help provide music lessons and instruments to those in Athens who are less fortunate. John F. Spataro — 4/7/1969 — 2/23/2017. www.johnspataro.com.
A memorial service will be held in Scottsdale Arizona. Please contact Lucian Spataro Jr. for details.