Eugene Edward Spagnoli, lifelong husband and partner to Marian “Snookie” Westover Spagnoli, loving father to Bernita, Victoria and Christin and doting grandfather to Ian, Sarah, Wiley, Norah, Scarlett and Serena, has died peacefully on May 29th, 2021 in Wilmington, North Carolina. He is survived by his wife, Marian and his children and grandchildren. He was surrounded by his family during his final days. He was 87.
Eugene spent most of his life in his childhood town of Freedom, Pennsylvania where he served the students of Freedom Area High School as a creative and passionate music teacher for 38 years before retiring. He shared his love for music with his students who performed before enthusiastic crowds during marching band, jazz and classical music performances throughout Eugene’s career. During his teaching tenure, Eugene brought many creative arts programs to the school, including a Fine Arts Club that introduced his students to professional musical performances in Pittsburgh, PA. He travelled with his students: they performed at Disney World and in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. With his contagious energy, humor and deep knowledge of music he built lifelong relationships with his students and colleagues throughout his years of public service.
Eugene (Gene to his friends) was a first generation American whose immigrant parents, Giovanni Spagnoli and Nunziata Tecca, arrived in the United States from Italy through Ellis Island in the early 20th Century. In a neighborhood filled with many immigrant families, Giovanni and Nunziata raised Eugene and his brothers and sisters (seven of them in total): Patsy, Robert, Dora, John, Joseph (Buzz), and Pauline. Eugene’s father owned the neighborhood grocery store where Eugene and his siblings worked as teenagers. Eugene is survived by his younger sister, Pauline Heuring who lives in California. All of his siblings made their way from humble beginnings to lead successful, meaningful lives that have contributed to the rich and diverse culture of the United States.
Eugene was very present in our family life; both he and Snookie attended every school and life celebration of their children. Eugene was at the center of the regular dinner-table conversations that come with raising a family. He brought his many creative interests into our lives—bread baking, a deep appreciation for music and opera, great enthusiasm for Italian food and culture, adventure, and a positive outlook on life. Eugene was authentic—and happiest when he was with his family. We deeply appreciate and honor the many personal memories of our family life with Eugene, including music lessons, outings to Moraine State Park, Christmas Eve with the seven fishes, Pittsburgh Steelers celebrations, and summer road trip vacations. He and Snookie lived in Italy for a semester late in their careers and travelled the world in their retirement, visiting Europe, the U.K. and cruising on the QE2. For the past 20 years, they have spent the winter living at their second home in Tucson, Arizona where they golfed, hiked and spent time with many friends and family. All of Eugene’s children are living their lives informed by his example. We will dearly miss him and we are grateful for all the years we had together.
At the request of Eugene’s family, memorial donations may be made to the Wilmington Symphony Orchestra, 5032 Randall Parkway, Wilmington, NC 28403, or online at wilmingtonsymphony.org.
Shared memories and condolences may be sent to the family by selecting Tribute Wall above.
Quinn McGowen Funeral Home – Wilmington
Wilmington Symphony Orchestra
5032 Randall Pkwy, Wilmington NC 28403