All of us at Stephen Ambrose Historical Tours are very saddened to report that our dear friend and American hero, WWII veteran Albert "Spoony" Sponheimer, passed away on July 4, 2014.
Candace Page did a wonderful interview with Spoony before the 70th Anniversary of D-Day of for VTDigger.org, which you can read here.
We hope you will take the time to read Spoony’s obituary below. It is a beautiful tribute to a wonderful man.
EAST RYEGATE, VERMONT – Another member of "America’s Greatest Generation" passed to join the ranks of his fellow soldiers on July 4, 2014. Albert Sponheimer Jr., 89, died at home with his daughters and his dog Midnight with him. He was born in Seymour, Connecticut to Albert and Edna (Daleen) Sponheimer on September 30, 1924. He attended schools in Seymour, leaving midway in his senior year to enlist in the Army in 1943. "Spoony" served as a combat medic attached to A Battery, 197th Antiaircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion. He was among the first to land on D-Day at Omaha Beach. He was awarded the American Campaign Medal, the Eastern-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, Good Conduct Medal and the World War II Victory Medal. Fifty-three years later after records surfaced, he was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action on June 6, 1944, attending to the wounded on Omaha Beach. He told one story that the Germans were unable to shoot him because he was so thin, weighing only 120 pounds at six feet tall.
After the war he came home to Seymour to work as a Master Plumber and Electrician. He married Audrey W. Rowe Wilkinson on October 3, 1953. While in Connecticut he was active in the Seymour Fire Department and Post 10 American Legion (past Commander). They moved to Ryegate in 1965. The next winter their home burned to the ground. He and Audrey spent countless hours rebuilding their home on the hill.
Spoony enjoyed attending his annual Army reunions and going on many Stephen Ambrose Historical D-Day tours to share his war time stories. He enjoyed talking to school groups and others, wanting people to remember the sacrifices and importance of D-Day. A true Red Sox fan, it wasn’t until 2012 that he went to Fenway with his grandsons, Jereme and Trevor. He was active in his community after he retired, serving as selectman for the town of Ryegate for 6 years and zoning administrator for 19 years. For many years he was member of the Woodsville/Wells River 4th of July Committee, Blue Mountain School Budget Committee, Republican National Committee, Vermont Republican Town Committee, Northeastern Vermont Development Association, The National WWII Museum, Veterans of the Battle of Bulge, Inc. and a member of VFW Post 5245 North Haverhill. He was proud to have been a member of Connecticut American Legion Post 10 for 69 continuous years. His father paid his first membership dues to the Post upon his arrival home from the war.
Survivors include his stepson, Glyn Wilkinson (Lucia) of King Street Burlington VT, his daughters Denise (Frank) Leafe Harley View Drive Monroe, NH and Katrina (Michael) Peller Hydeaway Court Highland, MD. He was the proud grandfather of Amber Wilkinson, Jereme, Trevor and Brittany Leafe and Stephen Peller. He had one great-grandson Braden Francis, nieces, Daleen Anderson and Lindsey Stephenson and nephew, Gary Anderson and many cousins. Survivors also include dear friends and "best neighbors" Larry and Theresa Lavioe whom he cherished. Friends Dale and Raylene Wright who without fail brought him a weekly delicious meal for years. Many wonderful friends and many Stephen Ambrose Historical Tour friends, including special friends Rick, Joni and David Hubbard and Gary Newell.
Albert was predeceased by his parents and sisters, Evelyn Anderson and Florence Sponheimer, niece
Louise Holmes, as well as his wife, Audrey.
A Memorial Gathering will take place at 360 Hillside Drive East Ryegate at the flagpole on Saturday August 16th at 1 PM. Burial will take place at Arlington National Cemetery in the Fall.
Please consider a tribute gift in Spoony’s name to either the National World War II Museum, this will help preserve for future generations the American experience in the war that changed the world.
945 Magazine Street New Orleans, LA 70130 www.nationalww2museum.org
Or the American Macular Degeneration Foundation, losing most of his eyesight from this disease was life changing for Spoony. (www.mvrf.org) P.O. Box 515 Northampton, MA. 01061-0515.
RIP Spooney. We will miss you dearly.