Robert A. Spatola, Sr., 83, of Lyndell, PA passed on April 6, 2018 at his residence. Bob is survived by his wife of 59 years, Hannah Hudson Spatola.
Born on November 10, 1934 in Philadelphia to Joseph F. Spatola, Jr. and Florence V. Spatola.
Bob was raised in Lower Merion and graduated from Villanova University in 1955. He served 17 years in the US Coast Guard, retiring as a commander in 1977. While stationed in Hawaii in 1958, he met Hannah Hudson, the love of his life. They were married in a Quonset hut in the Philippine Islands in 1959. He returned home to Philadelphia and moved to the Downingtown area to run the family wine and spirits business, Spatola Wines, Inc., where he worked until he retired as President and CEO in 1994.
Retirement was not for a man like Bob and he started a new adventure by opening a Christmas tree farm on his property in Lyndell. The "Farmer in Lyndell" was a cut-your-own Christmas tree wonderland that became a local family tradition to many.
Philanthropy has been a big part of the Spatola family for generations. Bob’s father donated the land for the Spatola Memorial Park in East Brandywine Township and the park continues to be the benefactor of the Spatola family. To this day, the baseball fields are enjoyed by children throughout the community.
Handi-Crafters, Inc. of Thorndale, a non-profit organization that employs over 300 adults with disabilities and allows them to live more productive lives, was the center of Bob’s life for the last 24 years. He served on the Board of Directors and was Chair for two terms as well as the Chair of the 2005 Capital Campaign and received the 2016 Best Friend Award which honored him for his service, commitment and dedication to Handi-Crafters and its mission. The organization recognized his fund-raising efforts by naming a building The Spatola Center. He was not only a dedicated board member, he was completely devoted to all the people that work there. Frequently seen visiting them as they worked, he always had a hug or a special gift for their birthdays. An accomplished artist, he shared his passion with them by teaching art classes in the Senior Center twice a week. "Good ol' Bob" was loved by all at Handi-Crafters.
Other organizations that he supported included Chester County Food Bank, Brandywine Health Foundation and the Scheie Eye Institute in Philadelphia.
Bob had a life-long love for boating and spent much of his time on the Chesapeake Bay. He loved golfing and most of all he loved spending time with his family, dogs, cats and horses at his home, Orvilla Farms.
Over his lifetime he received many awards, the most recent among them were:
Chester County Chamber of Business & Industry Citizen of the Year Award- 2013
Handi-Crafters, Inc. Best Friend Award - 2016
Brandywine Health Foundation Eastburn Community Service Award – 2017
The family would like to thank his doctors, the staff at Brandywine Hospital, Neighborhood Hospice, Home Helpers and all of our friends and neighbors who were so supportive over the last several years.
In addition to his wife Hannah Bob is survived by his four children, Kate Spatola, Jeanne Spatola, Nan Spatola Fisher, her husband Tom Fisher, Bob Spatola, Jr., his wife Angela Spatola and brother Joseph F. Spatola, III. He also had 10 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.
A visitation for relatives and friends will be held on Wednesday April 11, 2018 from 4 to 6 PM at the James J. Terry Funeral Home 736 E. Lancaster Ave Downingtown, Pa..
Funeral services will be private and held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, donations to Handi-Crafters, Inc. and/or East Brandywine Township Foundation for maintenance of Spatola Memorial Park would be greatly appreciated