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    December 16, 2011

    In Memory of Mike Spack: 1922-2011






    Mike_SpackMike SpackIt is with great sadness that Basketball Manitoba shares the news of the passing on December 16 of long-time basketball player, builder and Member of the Manitoba Basketball Hall of Fame, Mike Spack.






    For over 65 years, Mike has nurtured the development of basketball as administrator, coach, and referee. He was instrumental in reviving the Brandon senior men’s league and introducing provincial masters play. He also organized an after-school program for Grade 4 – 6 students where teams were coached by high-school students and mentored by him. Mike coached various teams at different levels in Winnipeg and Brandon, from high school to university, most notably the Brandon Bobcat women. He also refereed for many years. In recognition of his work as coach, administrator, and referee, the Manitoba Coaches’ Association inaugurated the Mike Spack Award in the 1960’s, in recognition of individuals who have contributed significantly to the development of basketball in Manitoba. Spack was also the first commissioner for the Manitoba Basketball Officials’ Association and the Manitoba Secondary Schools Athletic Association. Mike is a current member of the Manitoba Basketball Hall of Fame as a player and a team member. He is the first person ever to be inducted into all three categories in our Manitoba Basketball Hall of Fame.


     




    Our thoughts and prayers are with the Spack Family.  


     


    A service has been scheduled for Saturday, January 21 at 11:00 am at the Thomson "In the Park", 1291 McGillivray Blvd in Winnipeg followed by a reception.  


     


    READ FULL OBITUARY that will be published in the Winnipeg Free Press on January 7, 2012.   









     


    Mike Spack


     


     


    Mike Spack


     


     


    1954 Winnipeg Paulins


    Back Row: Jim Bulloch, Coach; Al Carlson, Manager; Mike Spack (#10); Andy Spack, Ken Callis; Jack Meyers, Publicity; Keith Bodley, Statistician. 





    Front Row: Ralph Watts; George Oelkers; Doug Gresham; Carl Ridd; Herb Olafson; Roy Burkett.  


     


     


     






    Michael (Mike) Spack


    1922 - 2011


     


    Passed away on December 16, 2011 at the St. Boniface General Hospital with family and his feline companion Luigi at his side. He has completed his life journey of outstanding sports achievement, a fulfilling career in the education field, and a commitment to family through a loving marriage of sixty-one wonderful years to Kathleen (Saint).


     


    Mike was the eldest son of five children born on March 5, 1922, in Winnipeg, Manitoba to parents Nettie (Sochasky) and William Spak. Growing up in the Disraeli district, he was guided into a lifelong love of sports by Dr. Jim Shaver at the Sutherland Mission. After graduating from St. Johns Technical High School he enlisted in the RCAF in August 1941 as Michael Spack.


     


    Mike was a Pilot Officer in the RCAF in WWII, reporting for overseas duty on Christmas Day 1942 piloting the famed Mosquito Bomber till June 1945 with the 163 Squadron, RAF Station Wyton. He was discharged on October 2, 1945.


     


    He met his bride to be on January 1, 1943, after being posted to RAF Station Calveley located about 2 miles from her home in the lovely town of Nantwich, Cheshire, England. They were married on April 10, 1945. Kathy immigrated to Winnipeg to join Mike in 1946 followed by her parents shortly thereafter. 


     


    After returning to Canada, Mike attended United College and University of Manitoba obtaining a teaching degree. His career in education spanned four decades culminating as an associate professor at Brandon University. Kath and Mike lived for forty years in Brandon, Manitoba until his return to Winnipeg in 2006 following Kath’s passing. 


     


    Mike devoted over 65 years to the game of basketball as a player, administrator, coach, and referee. He played competitive basketball from 1932 in the Sunday School League until he hung up his sneakers in 1979. Between 1945 and 1954, he was with the University of Manitoba Bisons, the Varsity Grads and the Winnipeg Paulins who won the Canadian Senior Men's Championship and placed 4th in the World Cup Games in Rio de Janeiro in 1954. He is the only inductee of the Manitoba Basketball Hall of Fame in all three categories: Team Member of Winnipeg Paulins in 1983, Athlete in 1985 and a Builder in 2009.


     


    He is survived by his three children, Sue (Doug) Scott of Regina, Cathy of Winnipeg and James (Mary) of West Vancouver and five grandchildren, Kelly, Ainsley, Chelsea, Kristen, Sydney and great grandson Zachary Ross (Ainsley). He is also survived by sisters, Nellie Balayewich of Vancouver and Margaret Eagle of Edmonton as well as many nieces and nephews.


     


    A “Celebration of Life” Service will be held at Thomson “In the Park", 1291 McGillivray Blvd, Winnipeg, Manitoba on Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 11:00 AM followed by a reception.


     


    Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to the Manitoba Basketball Hall of Fame, Basketball Manitoba  Inc. 145 Pacific Avenue, Winnipeg , Manitoba  R3B 2Z6 Phone: 204.925.5775 or online at www.mbhof.com





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