A man of consistent dedication and dependable good humor, Bill Spafford had a spirit that filled the room. It only took a tiny scratch to penetrate and unveil that signature gruffiness, which new acquaintances found out quickly was a thin cover over a big heart and gentle soul. For whatever the task at hand, Bill was the first to volunteer and to get the job done. His life was devoted to serving others, from being councilman and mayor in Tatamy, Pa., founding the Junior Emergency Squad in Forks Township, which nurtured numerous young people to go on to become doctors, nurses, and physician assistants, to leading the effort in Northampton County for water testing of the Bushkill Stream through Retired Senior Volunteer Program as well as other volunteer projects.
Bill loved his coffee, which he often carried with him. He always enjoyed a good conversation about politics or community life; you never had to wonder where he stood on any issue. His straightforward, no-nonsense manner was just one part of his strategy to make things happen. And if the person responsible did not take care of it, he did!
Bill was genuine through and through. He had a special knack of making every person involved in a project feel important and connected. He had the ability to negotiate difficult agreements with adults as well as capture the attention of children at Bushkill Stream Conservancy exhibits where he enjoyed explaining the stream sedimentation model. He was that rare and invaluable community leader who could face and resolve a conflict with other community members and move on, so that five years later if they wound up working on a project together there were no lingering hard feelings.
So, Bill, as we move forward with the work of the Bushkill Stream Conservancy, keeping you in our thoughts as we go, we’ll be asking the same question as your grandson, Jacob, who came with you to help remove stones that were blocking the stream: “Are we doing it right, grandpa?”
By Stevie Daniels, for the Bushkill Stream Conservancy
December 16, 2009