Herman Larry Spilker passed peacefully into the arms of eternity on September 11, 2021. He was surrounded by family and most certainly greeted on the other side by his beloved angel wife, Colleen. He knew for awhile that the end was coming, so he did a lot of preparation, including writing his own obituary, none of which has been included so far. We’re taking liberties because heck, what’s he going to do about it now? He was a humble, modest man, and in writing his own obituary, he left out a lot of awesome.
He lived a good, productive and generous life of 88 years. Born March 7, 1933 to Herman H. and Thora Spilker, he was raised in Salt Lake City and the Cottonwood Heights area, formerly known as Butlerville. His earliest recollections were of the Great Depression and the hard times experienced by his family and friends. He often shared stories with his children regarding how difficult it was, and how easy we all had it now in comparison. When a young boy, his family moved to a small acreage where they raised their own vegetables, chickens, and other staples of life. These experiences taught many worthy lessons, including the values found in honest hard work, and appreciation for the blessings of food, shelter, and steady employment. (He wrote most of that). As a father, he purchased a small farm for his family. We raised cattle, pigs, alfalfa, grains, and a little hell. We were always into mischief. Anyway, the farm was far less about raising things, than it was about raising kids, and we all learned a lot from it.
He married Colleen Palmer of South Jordan, Utah in the Salt Lake Temple, June 18, 1953. Of her many virtues, he enjoyed and found peace in her piano and organ music. But he especially loved her beautiful singing voice. She was, and remains the light of his life. They were blessed with four "chosen" children: Marcy, Aaron, Lynette, and Ryan. All of us were his favorite, which really ticks me off now that I know. He was very proud of his sons and daughters in law, and his many grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Larry had a wide variety of seemingly unrelated, but ultimately interrelated occupations including poultry farmer, corrosion technician, weld inspector, night dispatcher, attorney, university professor, and apple farmer. He was always busy working and when asked how he wasn’t always tired, he said things like "a change, is as good as a rest." He was the best at helping you realize that there is something to be learned from every experience, good or bad. "The important thing is to try and enjoy the journey."
As a young married father he worked night shift as a dispatcher. During the day he earned a Bachelor of Science in business, and then a Doctorate of Jurisprudence from the University of Utah. Despite his education at Utah, he was always a BYU fan. He didn’t write that but it’s true. BYU beat Utah on the evening of his death, a gesture of gratitude for his lifelong devotion. After graduation, he moved his family to Idaho Falls and began his legal career as a staff attorney for Idaho Nuclear Company. He was promoted to General Counsel and served in that capacity for several subsequent INL contractors. He would never admit this, but upon his retirement in 1995, he was world renowned in his specialty of Government Contract Law as it relates to the nuclear industry. His talents were often sought after until he decided to retire for good. Along the way, Dad was also a University Professor and taught Government Contract and Labor Law for the University of Idaho for many years. 42 years to be exact.
Dad loved teaching. He loved acquainting his students with the rich and colorful history of Idaho in the development of labor law. He was recognized by the University of Idaho with an "Outstanding Adjunct Faculty" award. He traveled the world educating, and especially enjoyed his contract with the US Navy where he taught two-week courses in procurement law to military personnel at various military bases around the United States.
He served on the Board of Directors for the Development Workshop and on the Board of Directors for the Rotary Club where he was named a Paul Harris Fellows. He was an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served in many capacities and callings. Of all these, he considered his most important calling to be that of a husband and father. His greatest joys and greatest challenges were in the association of his family. (He wrote all of that). We add that he was about as awesome a family man as any father could be, and taught us all to value those most precious blessings of family.
Dad finally retired when his health concerns left him no choice. Had he been in good health, he would still be working today. He loved to work. As his children, we complained of the frequent chores, and our Dad’s idea of a good time being a shovel, a hole in the ground, and a tree to plant. But in retrospect, the work ethic he taught us has been such a blessing and has been passed on to his posterity. We all work hard and have learned to love the blessings proffered.
After retirement, Dad spent his time in his yard, reading, listening to audio books, and caring for his sweet wife who died just last August, 2020. He would never appreciate us sharing this, but 20 years ago he was diagnosed with a progressive respiratory disease. At the time, he was given two to five years to live. Well, guess he showed them! As our dear mother’s health declined, so did Dad’s, but he refused to let his illness prevent him from caring for his sweetheart. He willed himself to live long enough to help her pass into the next grand adventure. After mom passed, his body quickly declined and a year later he joined her. He passed with the same quiet dignity that he exhibited his entire life. It was an honor to be by his side.
He is survived by his loving children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, brother Paul, and more. He was preceded in passing by many worthy persons with whom he looked forward to a renewal of association. Especially with his beloved Colleen. We’re sure the reunion was sweet.
As he reflected on his probable passing, Dad suggested that in lieu of flowers, people should take their grandchildren out for an ice cream. If you don’t have a grandchild, his son, Aaron, volunteers to go. There is so much more, but the Editor at the Post Register is already able to retire based on the revenue generated from this obituary alone. Just know that our dad was the most kind, loving, generous man you could ever want to know. He was a silent servant. Many were recipients of his generosity and knew not from whence it came. These are the traits he passes on to his posterity, and we love him for it.
The family expresses special thanks to Corina Knight, RN from Onesource Home Health and Hospice. She is beloved by our parents who were both nurtured by her devoted care. And, though she adamantly insists otherwise, Ryan and I want to thank our sister, Lynette, for devoting the past 6 years of her life to the care of our parents. She is an angel on earth. We could not have done this without her, and we love her dearly. Dad’s final words were "thank you, Lynette."
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, September 18, 2021, at the Stone Arbor Ward, 4459 John Adams Parkway, with Bishop Josh Roos officiating. The family will visit with friends Friday from 7-8:30 p.m. at Wood Funeral Home East Side, 963 S. Ammon Road, and Saturday from 10-10:45 a.m. prior to services at the church. Burial will be in the Ammon Cemetery.
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