William “Bill” Stanley Spellman Sr. of Riverhead died July 15. He was 81 years old.
He was born July 25, 1931, to Joseph and Hattie (Poole) Spellman in Weeksville, N.C. He worked on farms and in factories in North Carolina and Virginia before moving to the New York City area, where he worked for the Gun Hill Fence Company and at The Bronx Terminal Market. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War and was a decorated wounded veteran, based on injuries he sustained.
He and his wife, Etta Margaret, were married Sept. 2, 1945, in the Bronx. They relocated to eastern Long Island, residing in Sag Harbor, Greenport, Bridgehampton and Riverhead. He worked as a supervising foreman at Riverhead Cement Block and ran his own landscaping business with his brother Erlie Briggs. Most recently he worked at Peconic Bay Medical Center as the supervising maintenance and custodial employee, retiring after 28 years.
Family members said faith was very important to Mr. Spellman. He was a member of Riverhead Church of Christ, where he served as chair of the transportation committee, helping members get to the church, and as educational department chair, mentoring children and developing Bible lessons for the entire congregation. His devotion and ambition led to him to begin a new church and, with the assistance of his brother Erlie, he founded Southampton Church of Christ. He later returned to the Riverhead Church of Christ to serve the community.
Mr. Spellman is survived by his wife of 59 years; eight children: William Jr., Joseph, Valerie, Brandon, Veleda, Vedette, Kevin Johnson and Elisa; three brothers, Aaron Hank Brown, Sonny Poole and Mr. Briggs; two sisters, Doretha Brown and Classie Kelly; 22 grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; and many other relatives, friends and neighbors. He was predeceased by a daughter, Veronica; two sons, John and Ernest; a brother, Kurt; and four sisters, Mary, Delois, Fannie and Doris.
The family received visitors July 19 at Riverhead Church of Christ. Interment followed at Calverton National Cemetery. Arrangements were handled by Seay Memorial Chapel in Riverhead.