The Rev. Ruben Edward Spannaus
May 31, 1913 - May 24, 2006
Beloved father, grandfather, friend and mentor to many, Pastor Ruben Edward Spannaus, longtime resident of West Seattle died May 24, 2006, just one week short of his 93rd birthday.
Born May 31, 1913 in Loveland, Colorado, to Emma Schulengberg Spannaus and Edward Spannaus, Ruben completed high school in Woodland, California, entering the University of California, Berkeley, at age 16 and graduating with honors in 1934, majoring in math and science. In an unusual move, he also took Greek and Hebrew at his beloved "Cal" in preparation for a seminary education. He graduated from Concordia Lutheran Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri, in 1938, and taught at Concordia College, Oakland, prior to serving Lutheran congregations in El Monte and Livingston, California.
December 23, 1939, he married Olive Adelaide Wise of St. Louis, Missouri., who survives. They had four children, Boots, Edward, Timothy, and Fredric.
In 1942, Ruben accepted a call as Institutional Missionary for what is now Lutheran Ministry Services Northwest, serving residents of hospitals, jails, and other facilities in the greater Seattle area. He helped found a new inter-Lutheran social welfare agency, now known as Lutheran Community Services Northwest, and in 1945, became its first director.
In 1957, Ruben and family re-located to the Chicago area where Ruben served as Executive Director of Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois, a position he held until his retirement in 1978, when he and Olive retired to their favorite city, Seattle.
Throughout his professional career and in retirement, Ruben worked tirelessly at the state and national levels for improvements in the child welfare system for issues of social justice. He twice served as chair of the Child Welfare League of America, and in retirement, was a peer reviewer with the Council on Accreditation of Services for Families and Children. He served in leadership positions with United Way of King County and the Seattle/King County Area Council on Aging. Other "retirement" positions included business manager of Seattle Lutheran High School and Coordinator of the Lutheran-Roman Catholic Dialogue, as well as interim positions and preaching and teaching at Lutheran churches throughout the Seattle area.
A special joy in his last years was the West Seattle text study group, an ecumenical group which met weekly to study the lessons for each Sunday.
Ruben is survived by his and Olive's four children and their spouses, Boots and Paul Winterstein of West Seattle; Ed and Nancy Spannaus of Lovettsville, Virginia; Tim Spannaus and Collette Pariseau of Lathrop Village, Michigan, and Fred Spannaus of Decatur, Illinois, nine grandchildren, four great grandchildren, many nieces and nephews, and countless others who cal him "Uncle Ruben," my second father," and, simply, "Friend."
The family expresses deep appreciation to Dr. Ronald Watson, the staff and caregivers of Providence Hospital and U.W. Medical Center Cancer Care Alliance, especially Dr. Celestia Higano, Providence Mount St. Vincent, and to their friends from Hope Lutheran Church and the community.
A memorial service was held Sunday, May 28, at Hope Lutheran Church, West Seattle.
In place of flowers, memorials may be given to Lutheran Community Services Northwest (433 Minor Ave North, Seattle 98109), designated for the Village at Angle Lake; and the Hope Lutheran Church Foundation (4502 42nd Ave SW, Seattle, 98116).
"Take my life that I may be consecrated, Lord, to thee." Amen!