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Carl Phillip Spier

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Carl Phillip Spier died peacefully at home in Brewster, Mass., on Jan. 26, three months shy of his 91st birthday.

Carl was a generous and unassuming man who loved his family, his alma mater, Antioch College, and former community of Yellow Springs, where he had lived for most of his life. His adored wife of 67 years, Paula, died in 2011. He is survived by his son, Peter Spier, daughter-in-law, Gail Turner and granddaughter, Jessica Turner Spier, all of Brewster, and his daughter, Carol Spier, and son-in-law, Richard Cullen, of Bethlehem, Conn. He is also survived by his cousins, Robert Spier, of St. Louis, and Alice Lebel, of Newington, Conn., and his sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Ellen and Leonard Farwell, of Richmond, Calif., and Brewster, as well as by ten nieces and nephews. His brother Samuel “Peter” Spier and his wife Beatriz predeceased him, as did his brother-in-law Richard Lazarus.

Carl was born in 1923 in New York City to Percival and Beatrice Cohen Spier, and grew up in the Riverdale neighborhood of the Bronx. He met Paula, née Lazarus, while both were freshmen at Antioch; they married in 1944 when he was drafted. During World War II, Carl was trained in electrical engineering by the Army; the war ended before he saw active service. He completed his Antioch degree after the war and then worked as a mechanical engineer at Standard Register in Dayton, at the Morris Bean Company in Yellow Springs and at Systems Research Laboratories in Dayton.

A perfectionist by nature, Carl enjoyed fixing anything that broke. Some of his happiest days were spent with Don Friessen at F and F Auto Service, seeing to it that whatever was wrong with his car was remedied. Later, after retiring, he operated an informal appliance-repair service, where he was generous with his expertise, time, and advice. A man of many contradictions, he was cautious and prudent yet loved the financial markets; he was very curious and a first-class consumer of “the news,” yet he rarely ventured more than 20 miles from home. He loved the New York Giants (even after they moved to San Francisco), and regularly went to Cincinnati to see them play the Reds; he avidly watched sports on television, but otherwise had no athletic inclinations. He had a night-owl’s solitary habits, but was thrilled to be visited by friends or invited out to dinner. He and Paula were dedicated supporters of environmental preservation, yet neither spent much time outdoors. Carl loved accuracy and intellectual honesty, puns, puzzles, brainteasers, flowers and Paula’s famous homemade cookies and hand-knit sweaters. He was deeply saddened to outlive his wife and most of his friends, but was otherwise remarkable for living life on his own terms, exactly as he wished to.

Notes of comfort and sympathy may be made to his family at


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