Lyle Elliott Spearo, 69, of Sister Bay, passed away in the comfort of his home early Thursday morning, August 25, 2022 with his family at his side.
He will be greatly missed by his wife, Bunny (Jeanette Marie Yurkew) of Sister Bay, with whom he was blessed to share almost 47 years of marriage with; two sons, Phillip (Rachel) Spearo of Pewaukee and Jesse (Lisa) Spearo, of Naples, FL; four grandchildren, Ellison and Brynn Spearo, and Croix and Dashiell Spearo; mother, Kathryn Ann Spearo of Sister Bay; sister Lana (Kevin Hall) of Ephraim; siblings-in-law, Theresa (Mike) Richardson of AZ, Barbara (Mike) Pittenger of CA, Michael Yurkew of Madison, and John (Penny) Yurkew of Beloit; nieces and nephews; many cousins; and so many dear friends.
Lyle was preceded in death by his father, Donald Spearo; paternal grandparents, Ted and Helen Spearo, and maternal grandparents, Phillip and Lula Koepsel; nephew, Jordan Yurkew; and several uncles.
He was born March 8, 1953 in Milwaukee, the son of Donald Paul Spearo and Kathryn “Kitty” Ann (Koepsel) Spearo.
Lyle grew up in Beloit but lived and attended schools in Missoula, MT and in Sterlington, LA for a short time (as his father was working as a Field Erecting Engineer for Beloit Corp.). He graduated from Beloit Memorial High School with the class of 1971.
Every summer growing up he would work for his maternal grandparents, Phillip and Lula Koepsel, on their farm raising cows and in their cherry orchard.
Lyle knew Bunny (Jeanette Marie Yurkew) as they lived only three blocks away from each other while growing up, and Bunny and Lyle’s sister, Lana, were best friends.
They were united in marriage on September 13, 1975 at First Congregational Church of Beloit and spent their honeymoon camping in Montana. Lyle and Bunny built their own home themselves across from the family farm in Sister Bay. Together they raised beef cattle, pigs, and crops.
He worked as a grain and feed mill operator and drove truck for the Door County Cooperative, eventually becoming the general manager of the northern branch, delivering farmers’ supplies from the feed mill on Mill Rd. in Sister Bay. When the old feed mill was torn down the Cooperative moved the business to State Highway 57 outside the village, and then Lyle managed their convenience store and grain supply for a total of 19 years.
His best friends were always the ones he worked alongside of at the feed mill, gas station, and Spearo Tree Maintenance.
Some of Lyle’s best memories were of speaking to the local farmers all over the entire peninsula while making the farm deliveries and also occasionally having to work and climb inside the original grain elevator in Sturgeon Bay. He loved learning from the farmers about livestock, crops, and especially tractors. Lyle felt the most valuable and fun time of his life was working for his farming customers whose respected histories they shared had provided him with a lot of historical knowledge of their family farms and equipment throughout the entire county. Every day he came home from work he shared a new idea or a solution to a problem he had learned, and he was always grateful and excited for that knowledge they shared with him, especially the older farmers whom he said were so wise.
Together, Lyle and Bunny set up The Branding Iron store in Sister Bay, selling western wear before it became popular.
He built the Mobil gas station on State Highway 42 in Sister Bay and operated that for several years.
Lyle was proud to be a 4th-generation logger and owned and operated Spearo Tree Maintenance. He was one of the most respected woodsmen in northern Door County and was often consulted by his colleagues. Lyle felt and taught the importance of maintaining nature and not destroying it. Many learned from him the skills he loved with chainsaw, climbing, and roping work, calculating how a tree would be felled and he was rarely wrong. Lyle had some great crew members in Tim B., Mitch, Augustus, Alex, Chris, Mike, and Jeff, all of whom were always welcome back into our home.
It was his church sanctuary with God when he was high up in the tree canopies and in the deep woods. Lyle also loved to build roads and pathways in the cedar swamp every winter with Bunny and his dad, his sons when younger, the dogs, and even a following family cat behind the tractor, putting in a lot of winter times there. That’s where he was most comfortable with nature and will have his ashes spread per his wishes.
Lyle was an outdoorsman and naturalist through and through, professionally and personally. He loved and respected all animals. Lyle enjoyed playing sports - bowling in leagues, playing with the local softball team, and playing basketball with other northern Door County community members at Gibraltar High School in Fish Creek. He was always an old car enthusiast, having several himself, and loved working on cars with his many dear friends. They had great times driving in the demo derbies in their younger days. Lyle participated often in the Tractor shows in Ellison Bay, as he and his father both loved Allis Chalmers tractors. He always loved music and was a very good dancer. Lyle belonged to Ducks Unlimited, Trees for Tomorrow, and gave great emotional support for the National MS Society and members that Bunny volunteers for.
At Lyle’s request, no formal services will be held.
Memorials may be given in his honor to the family and also to the Challenge Walk MS: Door County 2022 (www.challengewalkms.org) being held Sept. 23-25, to support the MS Society. NOTE: When donating ONLINE: 1) Click the Door County Event 2) Search Team “I Walk Alone but I am Knot”, the local Bunny Spearo team.
“Our family would like to express our heartfelt thanks to Dr. Richard Hogan, case manager Stacie and nurse Tammy, the great respiratory staff at Door County Medical Center in Sturgeon Bay, the many Paramedics and First Responders that gave Lyle transport all too often, and the Deputies and 911 center for their quick responses. All have been professional and respectful, making this long journey easier. Many thanks to the awesome staff of Unity Hospice for the kind and compassionate care you all gave to Lyle. We were overwhelmed with your gentle care, thoroughness, and kindness. Also special thanks to Father Robert Burnell for offering Lyle the Annoiting of the Sick (Last Rites). We also thank the staff at Casperson & Huehns Funeral Homes for their kindness and professionalism. You have been at our side when needed.”
Casperson Funeral Home & Cremation Services in Sister Bay is assisting the Spearo family who also encourages friends and family to send expressions of sympathy, memories, and photos of Lyle that may be shared through his tribute page at www.caspersonfuneralhome.com.