IN MEMORIAM: John W. Spurdle, Jr.

by Jane Ahrens

John W. Spurdle, Jr. 85, an avid angler, sailor, singer, Morgan car enthusiast, opera lover, charitable fundraiser, lover of pranks, magic tricks, and Babar stories, died peacefully on April 24, 2023, surrounded by family.

A devoted and beloved husband, father, grandfather, and friend, John was born in 1937 in Orange, NJ the eldest son of Margaret (Lefferts) and John W. Spurdle. He graduated from Deerfield Academy, Wesleyan University and Harvard Business School. After business school, he joined Morgan Guaranty Trust Company, where he remained for 30 years. In 1968, he was transferred to London, where he and his wife, Cyndy, raised their two daughters and developed a life-long love of England. His career relocated him twice more between New York and London and incorporated travels around the globe. Those trips inspired countless, fabulous tales of daring-do and daring-don’t that entertained family and friends for decades.

An introvert by nature, John nevertheless put himself at the heart of many institutions. He was an insatiable reader of everything from detective novels to Pepys and Dickens. He had a special affection for the London Library, which he served for many years as Chairman of the International Friends. 

John had many nicknames: Jondy to his siblings, Baba to his grandchildren, Speedy to his JP Morgan colleagues, Spurts to his Eclectic Brothers at Wesleyan, and Mr. S to his friends and helpers.

A lover of spectacles and celebrations, he was a master of large-scale productions, including fireworks, cannons and singing – everything from the Messiah to Happy Birthday. He especially loved Christmas for the opportunity to lead his family in singing his favorite carols (with full descants and harmonies) and share feasts of oysters, caviar, champagne and, of course, Christmas crackers.

His many friends came from every chapter of his life, from his distinguished banking career to his passionate involvement with innumerable charities, to the fishing friends he made on streams, rivers, and oceans around the world. In addition to many friends, he is survived by his loving wife, Cynthia, his daughters, Sarah (David Stack) and Megan (Giles Peel) and his grandchildren, Hadley, Isabel, Will, Nicholas and Maud, sister Shannon Clark, sister-in-law, Diane Spurdle, nieces, and nephews.

A memorial service is planned for June 1st at 10:30 am at Saint Thomas Church, NYC. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the International Friends of the London Library.

Featured Photo

USCG Eagle passing the Race early morning March 18, 2023 on her return from the Chesapeake Bay. Photo Credit Marlin Bloethe

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