Frederick C. ‘Dewey’ Spreng
Oct. 30, 1945 - July 13, 2006
LTC Colonel (ret) Frederick "Dewey" Charles Spreng III died Thursday, July 13, 2006, at his Waukesha home. He was born in North Walsham, England, on Oct. 30, 1945. He moved from England to Laramie, Wyo., and at the age of 4, as an Army Brat, he became a world traveler living in Tokyo, Sendai and Okinawa, Japan. From there it was off to Verona, Italy, where Dewey graduated from Vincenza High School. It was also in Italy that Dewey sang with the Apopolyptics. He always said he was allowed to sing and not just play guitar, but if you heard him sing, you might wonder! After high school, he winged off to the University of Wyoming. Finishing college was not quite right for Dewey yet, so one day at lunch he packed a car and drove to Rhode Island to visit his sister for a few months, where he was drafted and joined OCS.
Dewey Spreng’s life was to be changed forever when he was drafted into the military. After Basic and OCS, he was sent to Germany, then England on a NATO assignment, before going on to Vietnam. It was in England that Dewey met a young English girl, Barbara Lamprell, who was soon to become Barbara Spreng. A courtship was started by Barbara’s mother when Dewey came into the pub owned by the Lamprells. A whirlwind romance ensued, getting engaged and married in less than a year. Yes it was quick, but Dewey had been engaged six times prior to having this timid (at the time) English lass steal his heart, so Barbara felt the need to act fast.
Six months after they were married, Dewey was sent to Vietnam, where he proudly served his country earning him the Bronze Star. Upon returning from Vietnam, Dewey was again stationed in Germany. He and Barbara decided to expand the family to Kerry Ruth, advertising the birth on a bed sheet hanging on an apartment railing for the world to see.
A few years went by and the trio moved to the United States, and Dewey returned to Laramie, Wyo., to live with the Barretts. After the snow fell in August, they went back to England for a few months, but Dewey convinced Barbara that Laramie was not always that cold (and she believed him). Dewey resigned from the military and went back to school, working at Ideal Foods. He worked very hard, yet still managed to take Kerry fishing at 4 a.m. most every day. The trio soon became a quartet with the birth of Frederick Charles IV, quickly nicknamed Ricky.
Dewey became an incredibly successful Motorola salesman and moved the quartet to Buffalo, Wyo. However, he couldn’t five up his first love and returned to the military, rejoining the Army National Guard in Laramie. The quartet moved back to Laramie for 12 years. During those 12 years, Dewey was very active in the American Legion, becoming Adjutant and Commander. He also loved to boat, attempted to fish and even insisted on buying an RV (though low cabinetry and large head did not mix, so that went). Dewey watched his children grow and always supported them in whatever they did, though he may not have always understood what it is was they were doing.
After Rick graduated from high school, Dewey and Barbara decided to become a duo again and moved back to England. Once again, Dewey became involved in a legion, though it was the British Legion. A Yank was not supposed to join, but Dewey was not someone who believed in the word "no." He not only joined, but also became secretary of the Royal British Legion Committee, as well as chairman for several years. He also made sure that the poppy appeal was always first and foremost in everyone’s mind.
Dewey and Barbara decided to return to the states to be near their children and grandchildren a little more than a year ago. Dewey and Barbara bought a small home in Waukesha and spent several months seeing more of the area then most natives do. It was always on purpose, as Dewey claimed that he was never lost. Even after the cancer became worse, Dewey still insisted on driving and even bought one more car, an artillery red Mustang that was his 78th car.
Frederick Charles "Dewey" Spreng III spent his last months with family around. He always had a smile for everyone and a joke. That smile is carried on in those he left behind. His mother, Ollie Spreng; his wife, Barbara Spreng; his sister, Carol Brose; his son, Ricky, and daughter-in-law, Bethany (Hood) Spreng; his daughter, Kerry (Spreng), and son-in-law, Tom O’Flannigan, and their four kids, Brigid, Katie, Tommy and Bernadette O’Flannigan; his nephew, Eric Brose, and partner, Neil Palmer; and his niece, Meredith (Brose), and husband, Mark Eidem. Also, Charlie, Bronson and Wodin - the ever-loved family pets. Dewey will be missed by his family and friends. Remember, shoot for the moon and you might just hit a star!
Private services were held at Randle-Dable Funeral Home, Waukesha. Interment was in Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Union Grove. If desired, memorials to the following are appreciated: H.A.W.S. (Humane Animal Welfare Society) Gift of Love, P.O. Box 834, Waukesha, WI 53188; Laramie Animal Shelter, 1064 N. Fifth St., Laramie, WY 82072; or to the American Legion, D.J. Martin Post #8, P.O. Box 111, Waukesha, WI 53187. For more information, please call the funeral home at 547-4035 or visit online at www.randledable.com.