The Ottumwa Courier

Obituaries

August 27, 2013

Gary Spurgeon

BLOOMFIELD — Charles Gary Spurgeon, 71, of Bloomfield, died Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013, at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City.

He was born March 5, 1942, in Davis County to Lowell and Lubelle Whitacre Spurgeon. He married Karen Elaine Amstutz on Sept. 1, 1962, at the Pulaski Mennonite Church. Gary graduated from Bloomfield High School in 1960 and from the University of Iowa School of Journalism in 1964 with a degree in community journalism. During his senior year at the university, he served as the managing editor of the university’s student newspaper, The Daily Iowan. Upon graduation, the couple moved to Bloomfield, where Gary became the editor of the Bloomfield Newspapers. In 1976, the Spurgeons purchased the business and Gary became the publisher, a position that he held for the rest of his life.

He was active in the Iowa Newspaper Association (INA) and served as a member of the board of directors. In 1990, he was elected president of the INA board. He later served on the Iowa Newspaper Foundation board of directors and was elected president of that board in 2008. Spurgeon received two of the INA’s most prestigious awards. He was honored as a Master Editor-Publisher in 1989 and was awarded the INA’s Distinguished Service Award in 1999.

Locally, he has been on the Bloomfield Main Street board of directors, serving several terms as president. Gary was an active member of the Davis County Fine Arts Council. He served primarily as director of many of its fall musical productions and spring plays.

In 2001, he worked tirelessly with the University of Iowa’s Marrow Donor Program to organize a local stem cell drive to locate a potential stem cell donor for his daughter, Shari Forsythe, a lymphoma patient. She later died of the disease, which also claimed his life.

In his younger years, Gary was active in the Bloomfield Lions Club and the local Jaycees organization. In 1997, he was named a County Winner in the Iowa Volunteer Hall of Fame.

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