William Spelz Class of ’49 and 2017 Hall of Fame Honoree – Rest in Peace

The Leo Alumni was notified of the untimely death of a highly regarded Alumni, Bill Spelz.  Bill was scheduled for admission into the 2017 Leo Alumni Hall of Fame at the annual banquet this Friday.   The link to his obituary and his biography are below.
Mr. William John Spelz Class of 1949
William John Spelz (Bill) is the only son of William and Lillian (Nolan) Spelz. He graduated from St. Clotilde School in 1945, and attended Leo High School from 1945-1949.
Some of his best memories are those made while at Leo. Bill holds his growth in education, friendships and life lessons from Leo in highest regard.
When talking about his Leo experience, Bill always mentions “the greatest man ever,” Brother Finch. Brother Finch likely never knew the depth of his impact on Bill. Bill tried out for the basketball team at Leo, but did not make the cut during his freshman or sophomore years. One day while playing intramural basketball in the gym, Brother Finch (the coach) came to him and told him to come to the team’s basketball practice at 3:00pm. In his school clothes, Bill showed up quite nervous. “Let’s see a lay-up,” Brother Finch said. Bill missed the first lay up, then the second. Brother Finch asked what was wrong? Bill told him he was nervous. Brother Finch advised him to relax and show up for practice the next day. This was the start of Bill’s basketball career at Leo, and his unending admiration for the kindness and wisdom of Brother Finch. Bill went on to be the starting point guard for the Leo Lions during his Junior and Senior years. This basketball team of great men (both on and off the court) won two City Championships for Leo in 1948 and 1949. Brother Finch nurtured the team’s basket- ball skills as well as mentoring the team to be respectable men.
Bill moved on to Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa. He attended Loras for two years before enlisting in the U.S. Navy to proudly serve his country from 1951-1955 during the Korean War. Following the Navy, Bill married Marlene Healy (Mercy ’50) on June 2, 1956. His radar/radio training in the Navy led Bill to become a member of IBEW Local 134 for over 50 years. Bill worked for the Chicago Police Department in Radio Dispatch for 33 years, and additionally worked over ten years on electrical set up for many trade shows held in Chicago at McCormack Place. Bill and Marlene were blessed with three children: Kathy, Bill and Denise. The values instilled in Bill during his time at Leo were those he wished to provide for his children. His daughters and son had a Catholic education at St. Christina School where Bill has been a parishioner since 1967. His children then went on to attend Mother McAuley and Brother Rice. Bill was an ardent sports fan, and he loved to promote growth activities for youth. As such, he was an active member of St. Christina’s Athletic Association; he coached the 7th & 8th grade boys’ basketball team; and coached Little League at Merrionette Park for many years.
Bill has four grandchildren, whom he supported throughout their sports, fine arts, and educational successes, and now he has two great grandchildren, Liam (4y) and Owen (2y) Gallagher to mentor in future youth sports.
Bill was active in his Mount Greenwood community as an assistant precinct captain. He has been a hard-working member of many benefit committees for neighbors, family or friends in need. The American Legion Post 991 in Worth, IL is where Bill proudly holds membership for numerous years. Bill can always be counted on to be there for someone needing help.
It is a humbling experience for Bill to be named to Leo High School’s Hall of Fame. He feels he was surrounded by so many great men. His experiences at Leo High School greatly contributed to his perseverance in his personal endeavors throughout his life. Bill, to this day, wears his Leo cap almost everywhere with pride.
As always, the Leo Alumni Association offers its condolences and prayers to the family and friends of this true “Leo Man”.



Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.