Obituary of Donald Earl Specht
Donald (Don) Earl Specht peacefully passed away on December 17. 2023 after a long illness. He was born in Gering, Nebraska on April 22, 1936, the firstborn child of Lydia and John Specht. His parents had roots in Nebraska, but they set out for greener pastures in Maywood, Illinois where Don went to elementary school and high school. During his time at Proviso High School, he participated in football, baseball and choir, graduating in 1955. In June 1950, he had the opportunity to attend the Boy Scouts of America’s National Jamboree in Valley Forge, PA. He remained active in scouting working as a counselor at Camp Ben Delatour for several summers while in college. He worked for the city of Maywood after graduating from high school reading utility meters until he left the Chicago area in 1957 to attend Colorado A & M (later Colorado State University) initially studying forestry, pursued civil engineering, and then mathematics receiving his Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in Physical Sciences in 1961. Needing to work to pay his college expenses, he was a server at the Rainbow Café for four years and an employee for Woodward Governor as a drill press operator where he lost the middle finger of his right hand in 1959. He was active in the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity where he made lifelong friends. He met the love of his life on a blind date to a fraternity dance set up by mutual friends in February 1963. They were married at CSU’s Danforth Chapel on October 25th, 1963.
Don began his teaching career as a student teacher at Longmont High School under the tutelage of Bill Short in 1961, teaching mathematics. That fall he began his 33-year career as a teacher of math and science. While at Longmont Junior High, he began his involvement in the St. Vrain Valley Credit Union and his activism in the St. Vrain Valey Education Association.
On April 16, 1964, twin sons, James Kevin and Jeffrey Earl were born prematurely. Sadly, Jeffrey passed away 27 hours later. After 7 weeks in the NICU, James went home to Loveland. In 1965, they moved from Loveland to Longmont.
In 1966 he was awarded a four-year National Science Foundation grant to earn his Master of Teaching Science degree at Idaho State University. Each summer he attended classes for 6 weeks in Pocatello, bringing his young family with him three of the four years. He became the math department chair when Longs Peak Junior High School opened in 1969. Don graduated in 1970 with his master’s degree from ISU. When the new Niwot High School opened in 1972, he was selected to be the chair of the math department. That same year their youngest son, Jayson, was born. Early in 1973, they moved into their new home in Niwot where they lived for the next 29 years. In 1978 Don was selected to open the new Skyline High School as math department chair. He finished his teaching career there in 1992.
Don enjoyed coaching baseball in his early years of teaching and bowled every Thursday night with a group of educators for over 25 years, His love of golf began in the early 70’s and continued until severe back issues forced him to stop playing when he was 82. He learned to ski when his boys were young and enjoyed many years trying the slopes in Colorado, mostly at Winter Park where they had a mountain condo for 10 years.
Early in his career, he was active in the local education association serving in several offices over the years, including treasurer, and building representative prior to serving as president in the early 70’s. From there he also became active in the state and national associations. He was a skilled negotiator for the teacher’s association and won Colorado Education Association’s Diamond Award for his outstanding contributions to the advancement of teacher bargaining in the state of Colorado in 1990. He was also active on several of the National Education Association’s committees including the Resolutions committee. Later he served again as president this time with full time release from teaching in 1992-94. He retired in 1994.
Don and Sally loved to travel. First it was camping in a tent, then a small 19’ trailer. Later after retirement, it was a long 27-foot trailer towing with a jet ski. In addition to camping, they visited many cities across the U.S. attending various conventions, meetings and trainings because of his involvement in the Saint Vrain Valley Credit Union (later merging with Elevations Credit Union) and the Colorado and National Education Association. They also loved to cruise and were able to see a bit of the world. In 2001 after searching for a second home in a warmer climate, they built a home on a golf course in Mesquite, Nevada and moved in 2002. That same year they had the opportunity to sell the house in Niwot (and all its yard work) and build a patio home in Loveland near Marianan golf course. They enjoyed ten years of splitting their time between Mesquite and Loveland so Don could continue his involvement as a board member with the credit union.
Don was active in the Lutheran faith as a member of First Lutheran Church in Longmont serving several terms on the church council and singing in the choir and later as a member of King of Glory Lutheran Church in Loveland.
Don is survived by his wife, Sally, his son, James (Tammy), with their children Christopher (fiancée Megan Stringfellow) and Jordyn, his son Jayson, (Sherri) and their children, Isaiah (fiancée Callie Mundy) and Kaden. Don also leaves behind 3 sisters, Barabara Roberts(Bob), Shirley Noreen (Keith) and Debra(Richard) Hosmer, numerous nieces and nephews and cousins. He was preceded in death by his son, Jeff, brother, Jim and his parents.
Memorial Service will be held February 17, 2024 at 11:00AM at King of Glory Church, 2919 Wilson Ave, Loveland CO 8538.
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