Saturday, September 16, 2006


We lost a friend the other day

Several years ago I received a call from President Spellmann of Lindenwood University. He asked if we could come by his office and give him fifteen minutes of our time. That was the first time we had met him although we had heard a lot about him shortly after we started the First Capitol News. He wanted to tell us how much he liked the paper and thought it was good for St. Charles. The fifteen minutes passed by quickly so knowing he was a busy man we attempted to leave but he would not hear of it. When we finally left his office we discovered the fifteen minutes had grown to several hours. President Spellmann was an amazing man and we enjoyed listening to his plans and discussing the City and politics.

Over the past several years we would often receive calls asking for fifteen minutes and each time the fifteen minutes grew to several hours of enjoyable conversation.

We were surprised to learn, that among all his talents, he was also a City planner. He would bring out plans, drawings, and conceptual ideas and ask for our opinions and tell us his ideas. We always left those meetings with greater knowledge than we entered. He was a teacher.

On occasion he would ask us to intervene on his behalf and arrange meetings with those who didn’t share his views. We didn’t always agree with the actions he took but we always enjoyed his company. Especially when he told us how much he liked the First Capitol News and how he thought it was good for the City. He made us promise that if we ever wanted to sell the paper we would give him the right of first refusal. He used to say, “Some of my friends say they never read the First Capitol News but they sure know what is in it.”

We especially are proud of the fact that when he was trying to get his Cultural Art Center (now under construction) started he asked if we would talk to some of the Council members to see if they would pass a resolution encouraging the College Board of Trustees to proceed with the project. He even had us arrange a meeting with him and a Council member with whom he had not spoken for several years. They then became friends.

St. Charles will miss President Spellmann. Despite his detractors, he did a lot of good for the community. He liked to remark that the University brought more tourists to St. Charles than the Convention and Visitors Bureau and he was proud of that. President Spellmann had visions far ahead of the rest of us and we hope that who ever takes his place is able to carry out his dreams.