Deceased October 10, 2018
Michel “Meech” Spratford passed away Oct. 10 in Oswego, Ill. Meech majored in math, played football and was my senior year roommate at DU fraternity. He met the love of his life, Olesja “Lesh” Kozar (Hartwick ’69), in high school, and they married the week after Amherst graduation.
Meech taught math and coached football in New Jersey while completing an M.Ed. from Rutgers and welcoming the birth of their children: Dr. Eric ’94 (Becky [Siegel] ’97), children Samantha, 16, and Nathaniel, 13) and Melanie (Kenyon ’98). The family relocated to Aurora, Ill., where Meech worked at Plano Molding Co., ultimately as VP in marketing. He bought and ran Centerline Models (an engineering and prototyping company) in Bartlett, Ill., until retirement.
With a keen intellect and inquisitive mind, Meech was a Renaissance man. He loved sports, particularly the Chicago Bears and Bulls, and appreciated good food and drink, history, culture and travel. In the late 1980s, I vacationed with Meech and his family at a beautiful home high on a cliff on his favorite place on earth, St. John, USVI. He never lost his joie de vivre, but it was spectacularly displayed when he was visiting the Caribbean.
Three weeks before his passing, I visited Meech and Lesh at their home. Despite his failing condition, he insisted we dine at Gibson’s. His family joined us for what turned out to be a celebration of Meech’s life the way he wanted to be remembered: on his own terms, enjoying great food and drink. It was a privilege to be included.
Near the end of his life, he wrote a final statement worthy of repeating: “Lesh is the love of my life. Eric and Melanie are the pride of my life. Samantha and Nathaniel are the joy of my life.” Well said, old friend.
Mark Dickinson ’69