Thomas Elliott Spatz of Medford, Ore., 81, a longtime orchardist and business leader in the Rogue Valley pear industry, passed away with his family by his side Saturday, February 2, 2013.
Mr. Spatz was born May 15, 1931 in Klamath Falls, Ore., the son of the late Ralph Horan and Clarice Addison. He attended elementary school in Medford, Ore., graduated from San Rafael Military Academy High School, San Rafael, Calif. and received a bachelor of science degree in biology from the University of Oregon.
A lifelong resident of the Rogue Valley, Mr. Spatz married Eleanor Catherine Bragg in 1956. He is survived by his wife and sons, Michael Spatz of Portland (and spouse Kim Spatz) and Steven Spatz of Langhorne, Pa. (and spouse Michelle Spatz). He will be greatly missed by his grandchildren, Michelle Spatz of Portland; Amelia Spatz of Quito, Ecuador; Emma Spatz and Sara Spatz of Langhorne, Pa.; and also his cousin John Robinson of Pasadena, Calif. (and spouse Holly Robinson).
He was preceded in death by his parents, son William Ralph Spatz, sister Martha Ellen Parker, nephew Justin Parker, grandparents, and aunts and uncles.
Mr. Spatz and his family had been involved from the early days of the Medford fruit industry. He managed the Crystal Springs Packing Company for many years and was a co-owner of Pinnacle Orchards, a nationally known direct marketing company. Under Spatz's leadership, the Pinnacle catalog won numerous national awards and grew to be one of the largest fresh fruit catalog operation in the United States. The company was sold to Hickory Farms of Ohio in 1995 when Mr. Spatz retired.
He served prominently on several local and regional boards including Fruit Growers League, Northwest Horticulture Council, Jackson County Vector Control, and Talent Irrigation Board. He was a member of St. Mark's Episcopal Church and enjoyed singing with the choir.
Mr. Spatz was devoted to his family and loved to be in the company of his wife, children, and grandchildren. He enjoyed a wide range of activities and pursuits including time spent at his Lake of the Woods cabin, international travel, touring museums, watching sports especially University of Oregon football - and exploring aviation history.
Mr. Spatz's funeral service will be held at St. Mark's Episcopal Church of Medford (426 W. 6th Street) February 6, 2013 at 1 p.m. with the Reverend Jedediah Holdorph II officiating. A reception will immediately follow in the parish hall. Private interment will be at Siskiyou Memorial Park.
In lieu of flowers, please consider memorial donations to St. Mark's Episcopal Church Food Pantry, 426 W. 6th Street, Medford, Ore. 97504.