Obituary of Aldrich Spane
Al Spane ~ A Life Well-Lived
Aldrich “Al” Spane, a lifelong resident of Fife, Washington passed away peacefully on November 29, 2023, at the age of 92.
Al was born to Alderich and Katherina Spane. He was the eldest of three siblings—Carl Spane (Edgewood, WA) and Kathy Spane Fox (Ione, CA).
Al referred to himself as “I am an ordinary man, that’s all I ever wanted to be.” Simply, that is how he led his life. Al worked exceptionally hard; he valued his family and friends; he served others; and he maintained a life-long devotion to his Catholic faith and St. Martin of Tours.
His integrity, values, and character never wavered. To his family, Al was an “extraordinary man.” Simply, he was humble, compassionate, grateful, and faithful. His upbringing was meager and dependent upon hard physical work with little time for sleep or studying. With his Catholic faith, he learned to savor the small things life offered with gratitude and appreciation.
Al attended Fife Elementary School, grades K-8. He then attended Bellarmine High School where he played basketball and football and graduated in 1949.
At the age of 16, Al acquired his first job at Carstene/HyGrade Meat Packing Plant where he worked for 37 years followed by another 12 years at Dave Murray Disposal. In his community, Al served the Fife Volunteer Fire Department. Al was a member of the Swiss Sportsmen’s Club and the Swiss Men’s Society. He was a lifelong member of St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church. As a young boy he served as an altar server; he was a eucharistic minister; he helped prepare and serve church breakfasts and dinners; and even at age 89 he still volunteered at the Fife/Milton Food Bank.
Al met his wife, Dorothy, when they were in the eighth grade. They formed a relationship that lasted nearly 80 years. After their schooling, they married. In 1956, they bought their first home on the corner and across the street from St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church. They lived in the same modest home for 67 years. Al’s house, lawn, and garden were impeccably kept; his car was spotless; and his tools were neatly organized, many still in their original boxes.
Together, Al and Dorothy raised two sons, Mick and Tom. Al was a dedicated father. He provided opportunities for his sons to grow and learn through sports, events with family and friends, dedication to church, and college educations.
Al enjoyed family travels, whether it be a Sunday drive to a nearby location, a trip to the mountains or ocean, or an annual summer vacation road trip. Many trips included National Parks and Mick’s college football games. His favorite trips though, involved his sister Kathy and her husband Fred. Whether it be hanging out at their home in Elk
Grove, California, or going on a road trip together, he lovingly recalled his time with them to be very special.
Al and Dorothy enjoyed many life-long friends. Al and “the guys” played basketball, swam in Trout Lake, let off steam after work, raised their families, and traveled together in retirement. After Sunday mass, it was common to find them at the Poodle Dog — the men at one table and the women at another table.
Al was extraordinarily proud of his Swiss heritage. He thoroughly enjoyed a trip in early retirement to Oberiberg, Switzerland where he visited his parents’ respective family homes, the Catholic Church his mother attended, and seeing the beautiful country that was beloved by his parents.
During the winter months, Al would spend time running and working on his American Flyer train set. Over the years, his hobby grew into quite an elaborate collection. He was always eager to share his love for model trains with anyone interested, but most importantly, his enthusiastic grandchildren were always excited to watch their grandpa run the trains.
Al is survived by his wife Dorothy; sister Kathy (Fred) Fox; son Tom (Nancy) Spane; daughter-in-law Sandy Spane; grandchildren Jennifer Spane (Elias), Jeff Spane, Kyle Spane (Elise), and Kara Wagner (Ben); four great grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, son Mick, and brother Carl Spane. He was shortly followed in death by his great granddaughter.
Our “extraordinary” Al will be remembered most for his positive outlook; his gratitude for even the smallest, simplest things; and his generous appreciation. In his last days, Al reminded us to always be kind to others and to put family first. He was grateful to God and to the opportunities this country provided him.
Funeral Mass will be held at 11 am on Wednesday, December 27, 2023 at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church in Fife, WA.
In Al’s remembrance, donations may be made to St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church, the Swiss Men’s Society College Scholarship Fund, or the Fife/Milton Food Bank.