Getting to Know... John Robert Spangler Jr.

Spangler (Submitted photograph)

Age: 57

Lives: Borough of Gettysburg

From where originally: Indianapolis, Ind.

Educated at: Carthage College, Yale University Divinity School

Family: Wife, Maria Erling; daughters, Marta Erling Spangler and Johanna Erling Spangler

Job: Executive assistant to the president, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg

Job's reward: Working with great colleagues in an excellent graduate and professional school is inherently rewarding, seeing students grow as leaders; and it was my privilege to be a part of the team that created the Seminary Ridge Museum

What I hate about my job: Nothing

Very first job was: Working in a machine shop in Rockford, Ill.

Favorite food: Most any seafood, especially scallops and lobster

Pets: Three cats, well, two of them are pets, one is merely a resident

Hero: Frank Rich, journalist and cultural critic

Hobbies: House repair and bicycling, reading

Pet peeves: Having to duck under tree branches while walking on borough sidewalks.

You collect: The old, symbolic tools of communication: typewriters, cameras, pdas, etc.

Event that changed your life: Being the dad of two daughters

Your scariest moment: Waking up in the middle of the night on a backpacking trip hearing a bear sniffing the tent inches from my face

Your first memory: Kennedy/Nixon television debates

Trait inherited from parents: Stubborn stick-to-it-ness

Who needs a hug? Democrats in Adams County

Favorite reading/author: Malcom Gladwell, Louise Penny, and lots of others.

Favorite spot on earth: My little lakeside cottage in New Hampshire

Website you visit most: New York Times (

Would like concert tickets to see: The full Ring cycle at the Metropolitan Opera.

One bad habit: My desk is a mess.

3 items on your bucket list: See/hike the Grand Canyon, climb Mt Monadnock by moonlight, take a long distance bike ride

Five minutes with: The grandfather I never met, Carl Obermaier

Piece of advice that you live by: The moment you cease to have one foot outside the institution which you serve, you are no longer of use to that institution.

What skill or lesson would you like to learn? Become a better musician

What would people find surprising about you? I've designed and built two saunas.

What would make this world a better place? People learning to work together to solve problems.

What is the best piece of news you received lately that you would like to share? My daughter is attending the UN Climate Change conference in Lima, Peru advocating for climate justice.

How would you like to be remembered? As a co-worker, Lutheran pastor, and citizen who left the world a little better, perhaps even greener than it was before.

-By Alex J. Hayes, Times Managing Editor

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