George "Pat" Spartz

Posted: Sunday, June 07, 2009

George Patrick "Pat" Spartz died June 1, 2009, of natural causes at Wildflower Court in Juneau. He was 80.

He was born on Nov. 6, 1928, in Great Falls, Mont., the second of three children to George Peter Spartz and Pearl Irene (Hartew) Spartz. He graduated from Malta High School, and received a Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of Montana and a MSW from the University of Utah.

In 1956, he moved to Juneau to work for the Territory of Alaska as a social worker. In April 1957, he married Mary Lou (Fagerson) Spartz, of Juneau, and they had five children.

He worked for the Division of Public Welfare from 1959 to 1967, becoming director in 1963. He was credited with the establishment of the first state-run foster care system and safety standards for children's homes, as well as initiating the first public assistance program in Alaska.

In 1967, he began teaching at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. In 1970, he transferred to the Anchorage Community College, where he established the AA degree program in Human Services. He retired in 1987.

In June 1983, he married Roberta (Messerschmidt) Arnold, who had five grown sons. The couple lived in Anchorage until 2001, when they returned to Juneau. In June 2008, they celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary.

He served with Stephen's Ministries in Anchorage. He was passionate about all things political as a loyal member of the Alaska Democratic Party. He was a member of St. Brendan's Episcopal Church.

"He was a loving husband, father and grandfather," his family said.

He enjoyed a daily newspaper and the New York Times Crossword puzzle. He was an avid sports fan who loved fishing. He remained a lifelong student of history and spent much of his retirement traveling with Roberta.

He is preceded in death by his parents; sister and brother-in-law, Marjory and Robert Eberling; parents-in-law, George and Amey Messerschmidt; and stepson, Gary Zinck.

He is survived by his wife, Roberta; brother, James (Sybil) Spartz of Louisiana; former wife, Mary Lou Spartz; children, Tracy Spartz Campbell (Gary), Gina Spartz (Tom Linklater), Jonathan Spartz, India Spartz (Alexander Stevens), and Robin Spartz-Hays (Robert); and stepsons, Kirk (Mary Jo) Zinck, Dean (Cindy) Zinck, Brian (Teresa) Zinck and Eric (Beate) Zinck; and 11 grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

A memorial service is planned for 3 p.m. Monday, June 29, at St. Brendan's Episcopal Church. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to any of the following organizations: St. Brendan's Episcopal Church, Church of the Holy Trinity Restoration Fund or the Glory Hole.

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