John Ralph "Jack" Spindler (1953-2001)
What do we want our children to learn from their participation in sports? Surely it is to value and recognize the importance of sportsmanship, team spirit, fair play, playing with courage, winning with modesty and losing with dignity. Jack Spindler consistently emphasized all these values with the students he encountered. A tireless worker, a quality individual, a dedicated and understanding coach, a trustworthy friend - all of these phrases have been used to described Jack. But most of all, Jack was a passionate teacher who instilled a love of sports, a respect for the game, and keen sense of fair play in the hundreds of young athletes he introduced to sports at Berwick School.
Jack was born in Lower Rose Bay, Lunenburg County and received his elementary and secondary education there. He attended St. Mary's University and the Nova Scotia Teachers College when he graduated in 1975. Jack was an outstanding athlete in high school and while at university once winning Male Athlete of the Year at Teachers College. Upon graduation, he moved to the Annapolis Valley to teach, first at Cornwallis District High School, and then for the last 24 years at Berwick School when he became the friendly and familiar face in the gym for hundreds of Berwick students. Tragically, this wonderful educator lost his life at sea on October 20, 2001.
Jack had a life-long commitment to the balance between a well-rounded physical education program and the complete development of all young people. During his years at Berwick, he coached in excess of 80 teams and organized and arranged coaching and logistics for countless other teams and activities. Jack always saw to it that all students, not just the gifted athletes, had a chance to play and experience the benefits of sports. In addition to this very significant role in his school, Jack volunteered extensively for many other community sports and recreation programs - the East Kings Minor Hockey Association, minor soccer, hockey and basketball, the Apple Blossom Road Race, and Horton Subway Basketball tournament to name but a few. He was the chief organizer and lead official for the Kings County and Western Region Track and Field meets for over 20 years. Jack raked and lined the track, secured and moved equipment, started the races, coached the athletes, organized the other officials - no job was too small or too large for Jack. Jack, however, never sought personal glory in volunteering. He did it for the students and because it needed doing.
The community of Berwick owes Jack Spindler a great debt for the countless hours he spent in molding the youth of Berwick School, for instilling the values that all athletes should have, and for emphasizing the positive aspects in all the children he encountered. Like a good house, a community sports program is only as strong as its foundation. Day after day, student by student, Jack Spindler laid that strong foundation.