The Ottumwa Courier

August 27, 2013

Gary Spurgeon

Ottumwa Courier

---- — 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.

A real passion of Gary’s was coaching baseball, specifically Babe Ruth baseball, in which he was involved for 29 years. For many years he served as district commissioner and was honored in 2005 by being named to the Iowa Babe Ruth Hall of Fame.

He was a member of the Bloomfield United Methodist Church and the Men’s Monday Night Bible Study.

Gary took special pride in his family and enjoyed spending as much time with them as possible.

He is survived by his wife, Karen; children, Scott (Brenda) of Bloomfield and Stephanie (Matt) Henkenius of Iowa City; son-in-law, Allan Forsythe of Bloomfield; parents, Lowell and Lubelle Spurgeon of Bloomfield; father-in-law, Ed Amstutz; sister, Jena (Dave) Hawk of Bloomfield; and grandchildren, Nathan Forsythe of Juneau, Alaska, Clinton Forsythe of Los Angeles, Calif., Alex Forsythe of Bloomfield, Benjamin and Bailey Spurgeon of Bloomfield, and Lindsey, Kyle and Ryan Henkenius of Iowa City.

He was preceded in death by a daughter, Shari Forsythe; a brother, Marty Spurgeon; and mother-in-law, Frances Amstutz.

Funeral services are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Thursday at the Wagler Funeral Home with burial following in the IOOF Cemetery in Bloomfield.

Visitation will be held from 6:30-8:30 p.m. today at the Wagler Funeral Home in Bloomfield.

In lieu of flowers, memorials have been established to the Davis County Dollars for Scholars, the Iowa Newspaper Foundation and Davis County Babe Ruth.

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