Walter “Walt” Woodrow Spiller, age 84, passed away peacefully at home in Edinboro, PA on Sunday, June 12, 2016 after a short battle with cancer. He was surrounded by his loving family. He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend to many.
Walt was born on February 29, 1932 in Erie, to the late Cornelius MacLaren and Inez Marie Daniels Spiller. Walt was a leapling, who, on a momentous day, recently celebrated his 21st” birthday. Walt is a graduate of Strong Vincent High School and the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business. He joined the United States Navy as an Aviation Officer Candidate Pilot and over the years has kept in touch via annual reunions with his Aviation Candidate class of 1955. Later, he also served his country in the United States Army.
On June 21, 1958, he married Elaine Cooney of Warren, Pa. Together they spent time raising their five children and enjoying life between their homes in Erie and Edinboro, Pennsylvania.
Walter started his career at Carborundum in Niagara Falls, New York and worked there for 10 years before joining the American Sterilizer Company in Erie as a Corporate Planner and Marketing Analyst for 23 years. He was also employed by the Diocese of Erie as its Strategic Planner for 9 years. In addition, he was an Adjunct Professor of economics at Mercyhurst College.
His professional service included serving on the advisory boards of Villa Maria College, Gannon University, and the Benedictine Sisters of Erie.
Walt was passionate about his family, sailing, and his two favorite sports teams—the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Buffalo Bills. In 2009, Walt received a Season Ticket Holder Achievement Award from the Buffalo Bills sports organization recognizing and honoring his unwavering support and congratulating him on his 50-year anniversary with the Buffalo Bills. Walt also enjoyed playing the Ukulele, something he recently took up and was mostly self-taught.
Walt, also known as “Grampy,” was most passionate about his family and loved spending time with his children and grandchildren enjoying the simple things in life. He taught his children and grandchildren the importance of family and to love unconditionally, which he himself practiced his entire life.
When not traveling to Ohio, Virginia or Texas to visit his children and grandchildren, Walt spent most of his time at his house on Edinboro Lake. He recently renovated it from a simple cottage – one of three original cottages on the lake – and it continues to be home base and the source of great memories for his children, relatives, and friends with an abundance of welcoming parties and celebrations.
Walt is survived by his loving wife of 58 years, Elaine Cooney Spiller; son, Steven Spiller and his wife, Susan, of Southlake, Texas; son, James Spiller and his wife, Lisa, of Newport News, Virginia; daughter, Katherine McPhaden and her husband, John, of Columbus, Ohio; and daughter, Sara Miller and her husband, Eric, of Columbus, Ohio. He is also survived by his loving grandchildren, Suzanne Spiller Boxx and her husband Charlie, Chad Spiller and his wife, Kailey, Skyler Spiller, Sydney Spiller, Ian McPhaden, Evan McPhaden, Jack Spiller, Audrey McPhaden, Conley Miller, Mason Miller, and Emery Miller; and great-grandson, Jaxson Spiller.
Walt is also survived by his sister, Mary Alice Spiller Seyler of Laguna Woods, California, who is the last survivor of the Spiller family of 11 children. He is also survived by nephews, Daniel Collins and his wife Barbara of Erie, Jim Collins and wife Sherri of Erie, and many other nieces and nephews who reside outside of the area.
Also left to cherish his memory are his cousins, great-nieces, great-nephews, and countless devoted friends and neighbors, many of whom he considered to be family. People naturally gravitated toward Walt because of his welcoming spirit and fun-loving personality. Walt will be greatly missed by all those lives he touched, but will be forever cherished. For years to come his memory will be celebrated as we shall raise a glass of Irish Mist in his honor and sing the songs he loved, such as, “To the tables …”.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his two brothers and six sisters, and his beloved son, Charles Blanden Spiller.
Friends may call at the Glunt Funeral Home and Crematory, Inc., 210 Erie Street, Edinboro, on Wednesday from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. A celebration of Walt’s life will be held at 11:00 am on Thursday at Our Lady of the Lake Church, 128 Sunset Dr., Edinboro, with Msgr. Robert Brugger officiating. Burial will be in Edinboro Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in his honor to Cathedral Preparatory High School at 225 West 9th Street, Erie, PA 16501; Villa Maria Academy at 2403 West 8th Street, Erie, PA 16505; or Edinboro Lakeside Association, c/o Tom Davenport at 1011 Lakeside Drive, Edinboro, PA 16412. To send condolences please visit www.gluntfuneralhome.com.