Former Juneau resident David John Sperling, of Pensacola, Fla., died March 17, 2008, in Pensacola. He was 78.
He was born April 3, 1929, in Juneau, to Harry Sperling Sr. and Mary Gertrude (Mamie) Sperling. Having countless adventures growing up in Alaska, none could top the claim to fame (with his sister and father) of being the first to travel on bicycle, on the road from Alaska to Minnesota known as the Alcan Highway, his family said. It took 38 days to travel 1,000 miles.
A captain, his naval career began at the Naval Academy, and he graduated with the class of 1952. He earned numerous flying medals and citations while flying before, during and after Vietnam. After finishing his sea duty, he and his family were transferred throughout Europe as well as the Middle East to allow him to retire from Navy service after 31 years.
Two of the more memorable of his stations of duty were as commanding officer of VR-24 in Sigonella, Sicily, and inspector general of CNET at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola. His last tour of duty was as Naval and Defense Attaché at the American Embassy in Cairo, Egypt.
According to his family, his personality and wisdom of command earned him the greatest respect from his fellow officers, enlisted personnel and friends. The sense of a tremendous loss is evident from those whose lives he has touched, they said.
Family said he will always be loved and missed. His family and friends wish him Godspeed in joining his lovely wife, Judith.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Judy Sperling, in 2006; and son, Michael Sperling, in 1984.
He is survived by his daughter, Michelle Spinner and her husband, Ron, of Pensacola; son, Doug Sperling and his wife, Susan, of Chicago; grandchildren, Jennifer Spinner, of Tallahassee, Fla., and Joshua Spinner, of Pensacola; brothers, Harry Sperling Jr. and his wife, Anne, of Ocean Shores, Wash., and William Sperling, of Seattle, Wash.; sister, Mary Ely, of Chico, Calif.; and numerous nieces and nephews.
The family thanks Dr. Patel and the staff of Hope Medical Group; Cynthia, at Home Care Services; and Emerald Coast Hospice.
At his request, in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Emerald Coast Hospice, 5401 Corporate Woods Drive, Suite 800, Pensacola, FL 32504.
Memorial services will be at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, March 27, at All Faiths Chapel in Pensacola. Inurnment will follow at Barrancas National Cemetery, with military honors.
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