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updated: 4/26/2012 5:04 PM

Lake Zurich's Spencer Loomis remembered as mentor at funeral

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  • Spencer Loomis' Army uniform and medals, which include the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star, were on display as family and friends gathered at St. Peter United Church of Christ in Lake Zurich for his funeral Thursday. The Lake Zurich-area historian and teacher died last weekend.

       Spencer Loomis' Army uniform and medals, which include the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star, were on display as family and friends gathered at St. Peter United Church of Christ in Lake Zurich for his funeral Thursday. The Lake Zurich-area historian and teacher died last weekend.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Pallbearers wheel out the flag-draped casket of Spencer Loomis during his funeral Thursday at St. Peter United Church of Christ in Lake Zurich.

       Pallbearers wheel out the flag-draped casket of Spencer Loomis during his funeral Thursday at St. Peter United Church of Christ in Lake Zurich.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Pastors Steve Boorsma, left, and Emily Mitchell conduct Thursday's funeral service for Spencer Loomis, Lake Zurich-area historian, teacher and philanthropist, at St. Peter United Church of Christ.

       Pastors Steve Boorsma, left, and Emily Mitchell conduct Thursday's funeral service for Spencer Loomis, Lake Zurich-area historian, teacher and philanthropist, at St. Peter United Church of Christ.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Peggy Loomis Spencer of Leander, Texas and Nancy Loomis Schroeder of Ingleside, middle, spread the American flag over the casket of their father Spencer Loomis during his funeral Thursday at St. Peter United Church of Christ in Lake Zurich.

       Peggy Loomis Spencer of Leander, Texas and Nancy Loomis Schroeder of Ingleside, middle, spread the American flag over the casket of their father Spencer Loomis during his funeral Thursday at St. Peter United Church of Christ in Lake Zurich.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Video: Loomis' life celebrated

 
By Mitchell Armentrout
marmentrout@dailyherald.com

Spencer Loomis made the most of his 90 years.

The former Lake Zurich teacher, author and philanthropist who died last weekend of congestive heart failure, was remembered Thursday as a loving father and husband who touched the lives of hundreds of friends, students and family members.

About 100 people gathered at St. Peter United Church of Christ to pay their respects to "Spence," who friends say was easy to spot around town wearing his trademark beret and sweater knit by his late-wife Amy Wooldridge Loomis.

"He truly lived life to the fullest," daughter Peggy Loomis Spencer said at the funeral service. "He opened the world to my mother, my sister Nancy and me."

Many of those in attendance were among the three generations of students who were taught history and geography by Loomis during his 33 years as a teacher and administrator at May Whitney Elementary School.

In 2003, he was honored for his contributions to the local school system when Spencer Loomis Elementary School in Hawthorn Woods was dedicated. He would often visit the school to chat with students and share stories like he did when he was teaching in the classroom.

That passion for sharing knowledge and telling stories carried into all aspects of his daily life.

"Spencer may have cleaned out his desk, but the classroom never left his heart," said the Rev. Steven Boorsma, senior pastor at St. Peter.

Hundreds of photos were on display in the church lobby, sharing the narrative of Loomis' life. They ranged from his childhood in Lake Zurich during the 1920s, to his career as a teacher and his continued contributions to a multitude of service organizations including the Lions Club, Meals on Wheels and PADS.

Lake Zurich Village Clerk Kathleen Johnson delivered a proclamation on behalf of Mayor Suzanne Branding, acknowledging Loomis' impact on the village.

"He earned the respect and admiration of so many and never stopped serving the community," Johnson said.

Loomis also fulfilled his passion as a historian, serving as president of the Ela Historical Society and authoring five books, including "A Pictorial History of Ela Township."

"That book is his legacy for all of the township, and I was honored to work with him," said Dale Blau, of the Ela Historical Society.

Also on display were Loomis' U.S. Army uniform from his service in World War II, along with a swath of military medals including the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.

His casket was draped with the American flag in preparation for interment at Lake Zurich Cemetery with full military honors.

Loomis leaves behind his two daughters, four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

"His death leaves a hole in our hearts," Peggy Spencer said. "We will miss him. He was unforgettable."

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