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Robert Orin Spurr, age 94, passed away peacefully in his sleep after a week-long bout of pneumonia, on February 6 at Swedish Hospital in Edmonds, WA, with his son and a daughter at his side.
He was born to William and Orpha May Spurr in Detroit, Michigan on February 3, 1923, the second of four children, and spent his growing-up years until the age of 21, in Inkster, Mich. Here he enjoyed playing baseball and football, ice-skating, tobogganing and singing around the piano with his musical family. He attend-ed Hicks school in Inkster until the age of 13 when his parents enrolled him and his two brothers at Henry Ford Trade School in Dearborn, where the boys could study tools and machines and earn a “good wage” at the same time.
But Bob’s life was forever changed at the age of 14 when a boy stepped out on a gravel road in front of the car Bob was driving. He had to quickly swerve to avoid hitting the boy, and his car rolled over into the ditch, crushing his left arm. To save his life, the arm was removed and Bob spent seven months in the hospital, often close to death. When he was finally able to return to Henry Ford Trade School, his training changed to Drafting and Design, which he loved!
At nine years of age Bob had prayed to receive Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, and one week later he was baptized in the First Baptist Church of Wayne, Michigan. The car accident that cost Bob his left arm turned his life around (as he put it) “from my will to God’s will.” Upon graduating from Henry Ford Trade School with honors (he was Senior class president and won the American Legion Award for outstanding merit and accomplishment) his greatest desire was to “lead and teach in Christian schools or to lead some missionary endeavor,” and to that end he enrolled first at Wheaton College Academy in Illinois, graduating in 1945. He then attended Wheaton College from which he graduated in l949 with a BA (and later got an MA as well, in 1962) in Christian Education.
On November 4, 1950 Bob married Marian Widman, whom he had met at Wheaton College. They began their married life in South Dakota, answering God’s call to be State Director for Rural Bible Crusade, reaching unchurched children and their families. Their first child, Adora Grace (Dorrie) was born on January 13, 1952, in Huron, S.D. On her first birthday the Spurrs moved to Springfield, Missouri, where Bob got his second BA in Bible, at Baptist Bible College in 1953, and was also a professor there. A second daughter, Elizabeth Ann, was born on March 2, 1955. A baby brother, John William, joined the Spurr family on September 24, 1958 in Dayton Ohio, where Bob was involved in Child Evangelism Fellowship. A return move to Illinois in ’59 found Bob back at Wheaton Grad School studying for his Masters Degree. Then in Elmhurst he was director of Christian Education at First Baptist church (’60-’62); then spent a year back at his profession of drafting, in Oak Park, working at Vogel-Peterson Coatrack Co.
In 963 the family moved to Iowa where Bob would teach Christian Education at Vennard College in University Park while pastoring a country church on Sundays. It seems Bob finally found his true calling when the family moved West to Seattle in 1965 and he became principal of King’s Garden Elementary School in Shoreline, later to be part of Crista Ministries. Dorrie, Elizabeth and John also attended King’s Elementary and High Schools. Bob got his Master of Education degree at Seattle Pacific College in 1972. During his 11 years at King’s Elementary, his strong leadership--demonstrated through his well-chosen teachers who shared his commitment to excellence both in academics and instruction in Christian values—resulted in doubling the enrollment at the school. In 1976 Bob became the Assistant Director at Seattle Bible Institute; then transferred to Mountlake Christian School to become principal in 1979 (until 1986). While there, his dear wife Marian passed away from cancer in September, 1979.
In 1986 Bob moved to the Phoenix area to be near his two brothers, Jerry and Ray, and sister Carol and their families. He got a job as principal of the Verde Valley Christian School in central AZ, and there met the second love of his life, Bonnie Boericke Balcom. Bob and Bonnie were married on July 13, 1991 in Cottonwood, Arizona. Bob’s dream to be involved in “some missionary endeavor” was finally realized in 1996 when he and Bonnie went to Bouake, Cote d’Ivoire to be the director at International Christian Academy, a boarding school for the children of missionaries in West Africa. Four of Bob’s five grandchildren had also attended ICA—Becky, Melissa, Joshua and Marian Hansen; Josh and Marian were still attending when their grandparents joined the staff! Upon returning to Arizona in ‘97, Bob and Bonnie became very involved with the Gideons International, in leadership roles and Bible distribution, until their move to Washington state in December 2008 to be close to their three children and grandchildren. Even in his later years Bob still enjoyed playing hymns on the piano with his one hand, at the various “Seniors’ Care” places he and Bonnie lived, especially if others joined him in singing around the piano! He was always an avid reader—especially of the Bible and Christian books.
Bob is remembered most of all for loving and serving God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength! He considered his “gift” to be (in his own words) “befriending and encouraging the people around me and sharing the love of Christ with them.” Bob Spurr was a loving father, grandfather and great-grandfather who played with his children and grandchildren and faithfully read them Bible stories as children, wrote them beautiful cards and affirmed his love for them on every possible occasion.
“Though we sadly mourn your passing, Dad, and we’ll miss your voice and your loving ways, so much, we’re happy you’re with Jesus, hearing His “Well done, good and faithful servant,” and we’re comforted in knowing you have entered into the joy of your Lord!
Bob is survived by his wife, Bonnie Spurr of Mountlake Terrace, WA; his three children—Dorrie Hansen (husband Dennis), Lisa Swanson (husband Dave), John Spurr (wife Michelle); five grandchildren—Rebecca Hansen Franklin (Jeff), Melissa Hansen Irving (Todd), Joshua Hansen (Suzanne), Marian Hansen Fortune (Ricardo), and Lauren Spurr; his nine great-grandchildren—Cadence and Jordan Irving, Cole, Zach and Adam Franklin, Eva Hansen, and Isabella, Elijah and Priscilla Fortune; Bob’s brother—Raymond Eugene Spurr (wife Lynne) of Sun City, AZ; brother-in-law Floyd Locker (Scottsdale, AZ) and numerous nieces and nephews. Bob was preceeded in death by his parents—William Gerald and Orpha May Spurr; by his first wife, Marian Elizabeth Spurr; by his older brother William Gerald Spurr Jr. and sister-in-law Muriel; by his younger sister Carol Anne Spurr Locker; by two sisters-in-law—Margie Spurr, and Margaret E. Widman Hanson; and by two nieces, Kim Marie Locker, and Laura Rae Spurr Carver.
A ‘Celebration of Life’ Service will be held in honor of Robert O. Spurr on Saturday April 1 at 2:00 p.m. in the Chapel and Library at Crista Senior Living, 19303 Fremont Avenue N., Shoreline, WA. Memorial donations in memory of Robert O. Spurr may be made to: The Gideons International https://www2.gideons.org/donate#nav-point
The Gideons International
P.O. Box 97251
Washington, Dc 20090-7251
Or by phone: 1-866-382-4253
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