Thomas James Spina, age 86, died peacefully, surrounded by family, in his Rochester, NY
home on September 6, 2021.Tom is survived by his wife of 63 years,
Ruth Bleshoy Spina, his two children, Rick
(Barbara Giaimo) of Detroit, MI and Linda (David VanDeusen) of Glenmont, NY; as well as four
grandchildren, Rebecca Chambers (Kirk Shimkin) of
Downingtown, PA, Andrew Chambers (Lauren Duda) of
Denver, CO, Jillian Spina in San Francisco, CA and Kendall Spina in St.
Tom was born to
Lula and John Spina of Lowville,
New York on May 22, 1935.He was raised in the loving home of his
grandparents Mary and Frank Gould in Lyons
Falls, New York.Upon his 1953 graduation from LyonsFallsHigh School,
Tom went on to complete a 1957 Bachelor’s degree at Syracuse University
School of Management.Although
having a job offer in hand, Tom took out time to fulfill his military
commitment as an Air Force Special Investigator in Montgomery, Alabama.Tom worked on both personnel and international
tensions during his 2 & ˝ year stint.The Cuban Missile Crisis occurred during Tom’s active duty creating
interesting memories.Returning to
civilian life, he began a life-long career with Connecticut General Life
Insurance Company (later known as CIGNA) within Group Sales.He rose in the company to become a
Regional Vice President for large accounts.
This career saw
Tom and his family moving from Ossining,
NY to Mountainside, NJ to West Suffield, CT.Yet his most cherished home was the “camp” he built and enlarged at
Chase’s Lake in the Adirondacks.Today it is viewed by all three Spina
generations as a family center.Ruth
and Tom spent 17 years living full time in thecamp after their retirements.Large expanses of river rock masonry were
built there by Tom over the 55 years owning the camp.It has provided many years of fishing,
hunting, skiing and generally enjoying North country
living.Time “away from camp” for
Tom and Ruth included traveling adventures with 17 self-guided road tours
of Italy plus commercial tours of China and much of South America.
Tom was often
chosen for committees and boards throughout his adult life: From Fire
Commissioner, Board of Education member, and Town Council rep in NJ to
serving as a Trustee of Chase’s LakeShoreowners’
Association for several decades, to the Lewis County Hospice Board through
being a board member of St. John’s
Foundation in Rochester,
were many and wonderfully varied.He
put forth his rich bass voice in choruses and church choirs.SPBSQESA, the national organization of
barbershop singers, claimed his membership and devotion.He was a loyal fan of SyracuseUniversity
sports, gardened, taught his grandchildren all about the woods &
nature, enjoyed coaching Little League baseball, doing intricate jigsaw
puzzles, and even created beautiful needlepoint. He never met an animal he
didn’t like, especially hummingbirds, cats and his
beloved cocker spaniels.
Survived also by
many extended family members and friends who loved and respected him, he
will be missed by all.Tom was a
gentle and generous man; devoted to family.He gave much richness to his world.
will be on Monday, September 13th from to at Sundquist Funeral
Home on State St.
in Lowville.A funeral will be held
following day, Tuesday, September 14th at Trinity Episcopal
Church also in Lowville,
NY. Burial will follow in WildwoodCemetery, Lyons Falls, NY.
In lieu of
flowers you may wish to donate to The American Heart Association or to the
National Wildlife Federation in Tom’s memory.