Obituary: Ludwig Spolyar
February 5, 1931 – February 5, 2023
Ludwig John Spolyar, of Tahoe City, CA and Minneapolis, MN, passed away on his 92nd birthday, February 5, 2023 surrounded by his children. Lud will be remembered for his deep and lifelong friendships, irrepressible cheerfulness, humor, sense of fun, appetite for newspapers and magazines, social savvy and ever-present desire to be of service to others and his community.
Lud was born on February 5, 1931 in Detroit, MI, the last of four children to Ludwig and Illeona (Tomay) Spolyar. Lud graduated in 1948 from Los Gatos High School and went on to attend San Jose State College where he joined ROTC, Delta Upsilon and student government. Lud spent 2 years in the Air Force serving a year in Japan as the Korean War ended; he then continued in the Air Force Reserves achieving the rank of Colonel before retiring in 1982.
Lud received his PhD in Counseling and Guidance from Michigan State University where he met his future wife, Kirsten (Kit) Staff. Lud never left college life. He started his career in Student Activities at Long Beach State College where he co-founded the rowing team. While at California State College at Fullerton, Lud was indirectly responsible for the first Intercollegiate Elephant Race when he created an example Student Activities Form describing an Elephant Racing Club. After five years at the University of Washington in Seattle, the family moved to Minneapolis where Lud spent 31 years at the University of Minnesota in Student Activities and Counseling. Lud especially enjoyed Parent Orientation presentations where he could endlessly recycle his jokes.
Professionally, Lud was active in many organizations including the American Psychological Association, American College Personnel Association and was the founding President of the Minnesota College Personnel Association. The Minnesota College Personnel Distinguished Service Award was named after him.
Upon retirement in 1998, Lud returned to California, settling at Lake Tahoe. He rekindled old friendships and made many friends through his church, homeowners association and local and regional Rotary clubs. Lud enjoyed swimming daily, effectively becoming the Mayor of the Dollar Point pool. As his dementia increased, he returned to Minnesota at the insistence of his children, but never stopped thinking about returning to California.
Lud is preceded in death by his parents, wife Kirsten, siblings Helen Mae Tidwell, Darwin Spolyar, Pauline Polen. Lud is survived by his children, Elizabeth (Steve East), Charles (Cindy), and John (Marcy) and 6 Grandchildren: Kirsten, McCullough, Christopher, AJ, Owen and Leona.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held on 11:00 am Saturday, March 18, 2023 at St Frances Cabrini Catholic Church in Minneapolis, MN. For information about the service livestream, please contact a family member or the church.
A Memorial Mass will be held at Corpus Christi Catholic Church, 905 West Lake Blvd, Highway 89, Tahoe City, CA on Saturday, April 29th at 10:00am with luncheon to follow.
The family wishes to extend our sincere thanks to the staff at Parkshore Senior Community and Memory Care, Methodist Hospice, niece Ruth Welch and husband Steve, dear friends Carolyn Willette and Len Froyen. Memorials may be sent to Rotary International or St Frances Cabrini Catholic Church.
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