MISSOULA – John M. Spritzer was born in Butte on March 15, 1947, to Frank and Frances Spritzer. He was the fifth child in the typical Catholic family of 10. After graduating from St. Lawrence O’Toole Elementary School, he went on to Butte High School where he participated in the varsity wrestling program.
At age 18, he was hired on by the Anaconda Mining Company as an underground hard-rock miner. A few months later, he started working for the Boland Development Company as a contracted underground miner. Realizing that mining was not exactly the safest of careers, he was selected to become an apprentice baker for Butte Safeway Stores. After earning his journeyman baker status in 1968, he relocated to Helena to become the bakery manager for that local Safeway Store. In 1970, he once again moved, this time to Missoula where he was the manager for the Safeway Bakery on Broadway Street. In 1973, he was hired as a baker for the University of Montana’s food service department. Working for UM for nearly 40 years, he retired from the bakery manager position in 2012.
John married Daurine Dennehy on Jan. 24, 1966, in Idaho Falls when they were both 18. This marriage lasted for 49 1/2 years and produced three children, Sharon, Beth and John. Throughout all of this time, he was a great husband, father and grandfather to the family.
He was a volunteer baseball coach for the Mount Jumbo Little League, starting in 1978. He not only coached his son John in both minors/majors, he returned to coaching a group of boys that he worked with from their minor through senior divisions. When his grandson was 9, he once again picked up his mitt to coach his teams until Mike turned 15. John was the manager or coach for several all star teams ranging from the 9/10 division through Senior baseball.
John had a passion for history and spent many hours reading about everything from old wars to the latest world conflicts. He had the opportunity to visit several battle sites in both upper New York as well as in Louisiana.
His “bucket list” was not nearly complete, but he did get to check several off – a five-day backpacking trip into Glacier (staying overnight at Sperry Chalet) with son John and grandsons Mike and Matt, a Seahawks/Redskins football game, Cooperstown, St. Augustine in Florida, Disney World, a NASCAR race in Phoenix, New Orleans French Quarter and, the pinnacle of his list, visiting the campus of the University of Notre Dame in 2009 (and again in 2012) to attend a Notre Dame football game.
John was preceded in death by his father Frank and his mother Frances; his brothers, Frank Jr., Jim and Joe; sister Peggy and his nephew Bob Spritzer. He is survived by his wife Daurine; his children, Sharon Terrazas, Beth (Jamie Johns) Spritzer and John (Kara) Spritzer; and his grandchildren, Krysti (Jim) Levenhagen, Michael (Mellissa) Spritzer, Matt Spritzer, Kellan Seiwert and Tom Kelly, along with great-granddaughters, Presley Seiwert and Kaitlyn Spritzer, as well as sisters, Tuzy Hogan, Mary Berryman, Helen Kelly, Jeannette Spritzer and Terri Little.
Services will be held on Monday, Aug. 17, at the Sunset Memorial Funeral Home beginning at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in John’s name to the Missoula Food Bank, 219 S. Third St. W., Missoula, Montana, 59801. Condolences for John’s family may be left at missoulafuneralhomes.com.
He left us way too soon – we will miss him so very much.