David Lee Sponsler, Springfield, Died at 2:30 pm, Sunday, April 13, 2008 at St. John’s Hospital, Age 76.
He was born on August 23, 1931 in Springfield, the son of Hugh and Marie Sponsler. He was preceded in death by his parents.
He is survived by his companion of 30 years, Sharon Livingston. Daughter Vanetta “Penny? (husband: Randy) Harrell. Two grandsons Adam David Harrell and Andrew Lawrence (wife: Gail) Harrell. 3 Sisters: Anna Marie (husband Ray) Dexheimer of Morton, IL, Gerri Brown of Springfield and Carole (husband Dick) Rodems of California, and several nieces and nephews.
Mr. Sponsler attended St. Joseph Grade School and Church and graduated from Cathedral Boys High School in 1949. He graduated from Western Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science in 1953 and Sangamon State University with a Masters of Arts in 1972. He had advance work and hours at University of Illinois and SIU at Edwardsville.
In 2006 Mr. Sponsler was inducted into the Springfield Sports Hall of Fame as a member of the 1948 Cathedral State Basketball Team.
Coach Sponsler’s teaching career of 36 years was in Physical Education and Coaching. He was in charge of the Driver Education Program for School District 186. He played in the first city tournament in 1949. He won 7 varsity letters, 4 in baseball and 3 in basketball. He was an all-city outfielder for 4 years and an all-city guard for 2 years. He won the City Batting Title in 1948 as a high school junior. He was coached by Hall of Famer Luke Gleason in both baseball and basketball. He was a member of Illinois State University Baseball Team in 1950. He lettered in baseball at Western Illinois State in 1953 where he played outfield. He played Semi-Pro for Sherman AC Sweet & Canterberry.
Coach Sponsler’s career in coaching was for 17 years in the Springfield Public School System. He coached basketball for 4 years and baseball for 3 years at Ridgley and Bunn. His 1957 Ridgley team won second place in city. He coached 3 years at Jefferson Junior High School and his 1959 baseball team was undefeated with a record of 18-0
He coached varsity baseball at Springfield High School with a winning record in the Sectional Tourney in 1961. He coached at Feitchans from 1963 to 1967 and was co-champions of the South Central Conference.
His basketball coaching record was 90 wins and 84 losses. He coached at Southeast High School from 1967 to 1969 and his team played in the championship game against Lanphier in 1968. The team that Coach Sponsler developed won the 1970 City Tournament in 1982. He was awarded a plaque for City Tournament Coach from 1963 to 1969.
Coach Sponsler was also an avid racing fan and attended The Indianapolis 500 every year for the past 55 years.
Visitation will be held from 4-7 pm, Thursday, April 17, 2008 at Staab Funeral Home with prayers at 4pm. Funeral Mass will be 9:30 am, Friday, April 18, 2008 at St. Joseph’s Church with Monsignor Thomas Holinga officiating. Memorial may be made to St. Jude Children’s Hospital.
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