Community mourns death of Councilman Donald Spann
Spann, who represented Ward 1 for more than a decade, died Friday, June 2 at his home. He was 71. Town Council President Rick Bella said U.S. flags were lowered to half-mast at all of Merrillville’s buildings in honor of Spann.
“This is very sad news, and we will miss Don and the light-hearted humor that he brought to the Council,” Bella said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and close friends of Don, and we stand ready to assist all that we can as a Town.”
Town Councilman Leonard White said he and Spann have been longtime friends before White began serving on the Town Council with him. He said it was hard to find words Friday after learning Spann passed away.
“That was such a good-hearted man,” White said. “That’s my friend, and I miss him already.”
In addition to their close personal relationship, White and Spann also shared the same political views. “He was always there standing with me, and that’s what I’m going to miss,” White said.
It’s clear Spann had an impact on many in the community.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the Spann family,” Town Councilman Jeff Minchuk said.
Spann joined Merrillville’s Town Council in 2012, and he was in his third term on the panel.
“He was always concerned about the residents in Ward 1,” Councilman Richard Hardaway said. Whenever a resident came before Spann with a concern, he quickly worked to resolve the matter, Hardaway said.
“He was a great colleague,” he said.
During his lengthy tenure on the Town Council, Spann participated in a variety of boards, committees, groups, and activities. He was involved in a Neighborhood Watch program in Ward 1, he participated in Merrillville’s Emergency Management Agency, and he was a former Town Council vice president.
Most recently, Spann was a member of the Merrillville Fire Territory Board. He also was appointed as a member of the Town Council’s Environmental Affairs & Public Health Committee, Parks & Recreation Committee, Public Works & Utilities Committee, and Public Safety Committee.
“I have been on the Council with Don for his entire time, and we served on several committees together over the years,” Town Councilman Shawn Pettit said. “He was always funny and cared for his constituents. My heart goes out to the family.”
Town Councilwoman Marge Uzelac agrees Spann was a jovial person, and he always came to Council meetings smiling and ready to tell jokes.
“He had a great personality,” she said.
Uzelac also gave Spann the nickname, “Dapper Don,” because he regularly wore nice suits and ties to town meetings and events.
“I will miss Don, I really will miss him,” Uzelac said.