Feb. 27, 1928 – Nov. 29, 2021
Frank J. Spinner did not sit still after he retired from teaching.
For more than 30 years, he was a volunteer driver for Meals on Wheels, plowing through snowstorms if necessary to make deliveries to the homebound.
A gardener himself, he was a judge for Buffalo in Bloom, inspecting gardens and recommending them for awards. With his wife, he ushered at Shea’s Performing Arts Center. He also volunteered for Excalibur, which provides adoptive boating and fishing for people with disabilities. He manned Excalibur’s booth every summer at the Erie County Fair.
A history buff, he collected coins, stamps and medals, visiting trade shows and conventions. He maintained a complete woodworking shop in his basement, producing furniture and creating mantlepieces. He also competed three times a week as a league bowler.
He died Nov. 29 under hospice care in his Grand Island home. He was 93.
Born in Buffalo, he was the only child of German immigrants and spoke German at home. He was an Eagle Scout and a 1948 graduate of East High School. While earning a bachelor’s degree from Buffalo State Teachers College, he worked as a drapery specialist at Hengerer’s department store in downtown Buffalo. He went on to complete two master’s degrees at Buffalo State.
He married a Buffalo State classmate, Joanne Louchren in 1952, and enlisted in the Marine Corps. He became an officer and served stateside at Camp Lejune, N.C.
Mr. Spinner returned to Buffalo, worked as a manager at F. N. Burt Co., then taught woodworking shop and other trade-related classes for 24 years in Niagara Falls, first at LaSalle High School and then at Trott Vocational High School, where he employed his passion for photography as faculty adviser for the yearbook. He retired in 1988.
He had a home built on Grand Island in the 1950s, helped establish Little League baseball there and coached for many years. After moving to a home across from Delaware Park in the 1970s, he volunteered at the Buffalo Psychiatric Center and was active in the Erie County Historical Society. He moved back to Grand Island about 20 years ago.
A longtime parishioner at St. Stephen’s Catholic Church, he volunteered on maintenance projects. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus and the Buffalo State College Alumni Association.
In addition to his wife, a retired Buffalo special education teacher; survivors include three sons, Frank, Michael and Richard; a daughter, Suzanne Spinner; three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
A Memorial Mass with military honors will be offered at 11 a.m. Saturday in St. Stephen’s Church, 2100 Baseline Road, Grand Island.