Deceased June 26, 2018
Spike served Amherst with distinction and wisdom on the board of trustees for 21 years, including six as chairman and then election as chairman emeritus. When the College was debating coeducation, conventional thinking was that Amherst must follow other elite schools or lose outstanding students. Spike was not convinced until he heard a professor say he was a much better teacher standing in front of a class with different backgrounds and viewpoints.
After Harvard Business School and a stint as a Navy officer, Spike joined IBM, selling computers. He rose to become a senior vice president and a member of the board of directors and the corporate office. Along the way, he served as executive assistant to Thomas Watson, chairman, and also head of the data processing division. He was appointed to eight major corporate boards such as Bankers Trust (now Deutsche Bank) and Phillips Petroleum (today ConocoPhillips).
Spike’s nonprofit trusteeships were many, ranging from the Eisenhower Exchange Fellowships to Northern Westchester Hospital. A favorite was the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. There he was chairman for four years and on the board for 15 years. Spike, a private pilot for 50 years, relished hosting Al Steuber ’50, Bro Park ’50 and me, with wives, at Williamsburg and flying us home.
At Amherst, Spike was president of Alpha Delta Phi, won his “A” in crew and football and was managing editor of the Olio.
What stands out about Spike is that he truly cared about helping people. He was not blinded by his laurels. I could not have had a better roommate or friend.
Spike died at 90 in June after an operation for a stomach aneurysm. He leaves his wife of more than 65 years, Mary Lou, sons Skip and David, daughter Tish, six grandchildren and a sister, Nancy Hall.
John Priesing ’50