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Len Spearman

Image by Nick Andréka

LEONARD BERT SPEARMAN

August 6, 1939 - February 11, 2024

Son, Brother, Cousin, Husband, Father, Uncle, Professor, Dog Sled Driver, Ringette Coach, Grampa, Grampa Great, Co-Author, Photographer, Model Railroad enthusiast, and Co-Author (with Mom) to writing their story 'Climb Every Mountain'. Mom’s husband, and our Dad wore many hats, and he wore them well!


Peacefully, and surrounded with love Dad passed away on Sunday, February 11, 2024. Dad is survived by his beautiful wife Marietta and three children Suzy, Sherri (Ray), Scott (Brenda Lee). He is so proud of his granddaughters Christine (John), Rebecca (Vitaliy), Rachel (Ryan), Miranda (Daylon), Grace (Luke), and Amy. Grampa Great is proud of his two great grandchildren Everleigh and Maryna. Dad, your third great grandchild, to be born in July is a BOY! Dad is survived by his brother Dick Spearman with wife Mary Anne, of Lincoln, Nebraska and many nieces and nephews. Dad is predeceased by his parents Bert and Audrey Spearman.


Dad’s life is a story to tell and a beautiful journey. Sit back and enjoy his story.


Dad was born to Bert and Audrey in Ainsworth, Nebraska. He enjoyed the small-town life and his dog Queen. In Dad’s teen years the Spearman Family moved to Lincoln, Nebraska. When he was 19, he traveled to Estes Park, Colorado to work the summer at the YMCA. His job was to drive a truck to transport the housekeeping staff. One of the housekeepers was Marietta, from Eau Claire, Wisconsin. They both were working to save for university. They both enjoyed the outdoors and many Estes Park hikes. Dad proudly climbed Longs Peak. Dad and Moms love for each other and the outdoors was their beginning to a beautiful 63-year marriage. 


During 1958-60, they continued their long-distance relationship and education. Dad started his life career as a social worker and Mom a primary school teacher. In 1960 they married in Eau Claire, Wisconsin with a reception in the beautiful back yard of his future parent in-laws Lee and Ester Hench.


After their honeymoon in Estes Park Colorado, Dad and Mom returned to Lincoln, Nebraska so Dad could continue his studies towards his Bachelor of Political Science at Nebraska Wesleyan University and Mom teaching grade three. They also welcomed their first daughter, Suzy.


In 1963 Dads education took him to St. Cloud, Minnasota where he studied for his Masters and a year later welcomed their second daughter Sherri. As the education journey and building their family continued, Mom and Dad moved to St. Louis, Missouri where Dad graduated with his PhD in Social Work from Washington University. Dad and Mom welcomed their son Scott!


In 1969 Dad was offered a position as a professor for the School of Social Work at the University of Manitoba. Dad and Mom packed up their three kids our poodle Sandy, our budgie Perky, a u-haul, their station wagon and travel trailer and moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba. Dad’s five-year term at the U of M turned into a 55 year 'term' living in Winnipeg (LOL). Dad and Mom have created many long time friendships from the School of Social Work. Dad’s work with the School of Social Work saw him spearheading the opening of the new School of Social Work in Thompson, Manitoba and co-authored with a colleague the 1st edition of their book Social Work Practice-Problem Solving & Beyond. Post retirement in 2005 Dad and his co-author completed the 2nd edition and in 2010 completed the final 3rd edition. Their book was so well received, it became a required text book for social work students. Up until 2011 Dad continued teaching Distance Education.


With the move to Winnipeg from St. Louis, Missouri, Dad and Mom rented a town house in Charleswood eagerly waiting for their house to be built in Fort Richmond. It was in this home they brought home our first Samoyed sled dog. This was the beginning of a 30+ years of racing sled dogs. Over time, he built a team of cross-bred dogs and enjoyed the winter sport in dog sledding. Dad named his 20-dog kennel SnoTrek. Dad and Mom have close friends who share their love of sled dogs. Together with these friends, they travelled to US and Western Canada sled dog racing.


Dad and Moms love for the country moved their family in 1975 to Oakbank, Manitoba. They built a new home, on the north point of Birds Hill Park. Birds Hill Park was our front yard and holds 48 years of family fun and special memories of our Dad and Grampa. Our childhood was filled with camping in Western Canada and the US. Dad was all about giving us kids great experiences. Our vacations were filled with visiting our American families in Nebraska, California and Washington, camping, canoeing, hiking and swimming. They also enjoyed many trips with their grandchildren! Oh, the forever memories.


Dad’s love for Birds Hill Park was strong. In 2000 Dad joined the Friends of Birds Hill Park as an officer.


In 2004, after 35 years Dad retired from the University of Manitoba and soon retired from dog sledding. During retirement Dad and Mom travelled with their travel trailer and Dad restarted his past hobbies photography and model railroading. He built a elaborate and technical N-Scale model layout in the spare bedroom of their home. Dad joined the club WinNtrak and met another great group of friends. Dad’s train layout so detailed it was featured in the N-Scale Magazine. His enjoyment for photography continued right up to his passing.


In 2020 Dad and Mom moved to Amber Meadow Retirement community. Dad filled their apartment with many beautiful pictures of family, travels, country home and nature.

In 2022 Dads illness caused him to be bed ridden, but that did not stop him from the use of his superior computer skills to organize his 12 000 pictures, and write his and Mom’s memoir! For 8 months Mom and Dad had a routine to enjoy their mornings reminiscing about their life as children and as a couple. Dad captured their story added photos and created an amazing family book. They named the book 'Climb Every Mountain' from the movie The Sound of Music, which too was sung by Dads best friend at their wedding.


Dad thank you for all your, love, support and being our Dad, Grampa, Great Grampa, and oh yes, our very own in-house IT guy! We will miss your shy, mischievous smile...LOVE YOU!


In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution in Len’s memory to a charity or animal shelter of choice.


A formal funeral will not take place. Dad’s wishes will be a private family and friends celebration in the summer.


Our family would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Dad’s homecare aids who were kind and important to Dad’s choice to remain at home. A thank you to Amber Meadow staff who created a new home for Dad and Mom and played compassionate role in Dad remaining at home. Lastly, the amazing care Dad received at Riverview! Blessings to everyone!


A special thank you to Ethical Death Care, for their assistance with making a very difficult time easier.


Len's family kindly requests that all of his friends and relatives take a few minutes to honour his memory by watching the photo-biography above. Please, also consider sharing your own photos, memories, and stories by making use of the comment section on this page.

ETHICAL DEATH CARE

Cremation & Life Celebrations

530 St. Mary Avenue - Winnipeg

204-421-5501 - www.ethicaldeathcare.com

Memories, Stories and Condolences

 

Please share a story, photo, memory or condolence for the family by completing the form below and clicking "comment".

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Comments (16)
Guest
Apr 05

Len was first a professor to me, then later a colleague and friend whose genuineness, compassion and interest in you and your life was always on display I learned much from our many conversations during our time together in the Faculty of Social Work. My condolences to Len's family on a life well-lived.

Brad McKenzie

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Guest
Apr 03

Nothing but fond memories of Len and his entire family.  From training large sleds dog teams with him on the tight trails of Birds Hills Park, rides in his Datsun sled dog truck, sleep-overs at the Spearman’s amazing property in Oakbank and even racing against Len at sled dog racing events.  Len was such a class act.   


I still credit Len for coming to my rescue at one sled dog racing in Saint Laurent Manitoba in the 1980’s...  we were two of the numerous competitors in the 6 dog / 6 mile race when the weather turned into a white out and my team and I lost our way.   In the process of untangling one of my point dogs legs from the gang line, I lost both my winter mitts.  Lost in a Manitoba blizzard with a team of dogs and no winter gloves quickly turned a fun race into a very serious situation.  I will never forget the feeling of relief I had when Len and his trusted team of dogs showed up, and even luckier for me, Len had an extra pair of mitts.  With Len’s guidance, we safely navigated our way to the finish line.  


To this day, I credit Len for putting the all the prize money and the winning trophy aside to help a friend in need.  Things could have turned out much differently for me if not for his kind generosity, and proper planning with his extra winter gear.   Thanks for saving me Len!!!    Rest in peace.  …. Sean Stoller      

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Guest
Apr 01

My condolences to Marietta and family. Len was a friend and mentor to my dog mushing career. So many fond memories of training and racing together. Rest in Peace. Dave Hochman

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Guest
Apr 01

I was saddened to hear of Len’s passing. He and I spent a lot of time together pursuing our passion (addiction) of dog mushing.

Unfortunately we kind of lost touch with each other after I moved away from Winnipeg.. However, I am glad that I was able to visit Len and Marietta on a trip to Winnipeg, along with a couple other old friends not too long ago.

My sincere condolences to the entire Spearman family.

Always remembered but never forgotten.


Art Stoller

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Guest
Mar 04

Marietta: So sad to hear of Lens passing. Vickie and I are in South Africa during this difficult time for you. Please accept our most sincere condolences to you and your family at this time.

Ray and Vickie Kindrat

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Guest
Feb 28

Leonard,

My dear friend, I shall miss our weekly telephone chit chat. You are one of the nicest people I had ever met. I truly valued our friendship and I shall miss you for the rest of my life.

Your friend

Ranjan



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Guest
Feb 27

Len taught me my first research course in social work and later served on my PhD committee. Always supportive and kind, Len was a memorable person in my academic journey. I feel fortunate to be one of those whose lives were touched by Len. My condolences to his family, ~ Hai Luo

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Guest
Feb 27

Len was my teacher and then my colleague. He was one of the smartest and nicest people I ever knew. He was such a well rounded human being who was at home in academia, and in the many social settings he frequented. Condolences from Vicki and I to Marietta and Len's children and grandchildren.


Sid Frankel

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Guest
Feb 26

I met Len in the mid 70s, when he was one of my professors. We reconnected in the late 80s as colleagues and friends. Len was a fine scholar, innovative teacher, good colleague, good friend and fine person. He will be missed by many. Harvy FRANKEL.

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Guest
Feb 26


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Guest
Feb 26

Professor Spearman taught me so much during my years as a social work student (1997-2001) at the University of Manitoba. Condolences to his family on his passing to the Spirit World. Warm regards, Leona Huntinghawk

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Guest
Feb 26

Len was a valued colleague and friend. I enjoyed working with him throughout our time together at the Faculty of Social Work. Please accept my sincerest condolences. Denis Bracken

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Guest
Feb 26

I remembered his encouraging words during my Pre-MSW program. He was an active listener and never missed his class. He made me love social work profession. May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace. Bolaji Akinyele-Akanbi

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Guest
Feb 24

Remember Len very well during his dogsledding days. Coming to Fidler’s Esso on his way out for gas or other needs. He was a very nice, friendly man. Enjoyed both his and Marietta’s friendship. Sympathies to his family. Mae Fidler (late Harvey)

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Guest
Feb 24

Such a beautiful tribute to a life well lived. Your Dad was certainly a wonderful man…. Our condolences to the family. Pat and Kevin Larson

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