- November 18, 1934 - January 6, 2017
- Greenville, South Carolina
of Donald's Passing
- In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to:
Wounded Warrior Project
P.O. Box 758517
Topeka, KS 66675
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Message from the Family
Thank you for your support during this difficult time. Please enhance this tribute to Don by adding your memories and photos.
Arrangements made by
J. Henry Stuhr Mount Pleasant Chapel
Memories & CandlesPrevious
“How terribly sad it was to know one of the best and brightest people i've known is no longer with us. I met Don when we were children attending...Read More »
1 of 33 | Posted by: Ann Fraser Blake - Atlanta, GA
“I was deeply saddened to hear of Don's passing. We became close friends as members of the same platoon in G Company, USMC Basic Class 3-58. ...Read More »
2 of 33 | Posted by: Larry Weltin - Montgomery, AL
“B.J., Scott & Robin, sending our sympathy to you all from all the Metcalf siblings, Mike, Mindy, Jeanie, Mark & Max. We have such fond memories of...Read More »
3 of 33 | Posted by: Mindy Cornelison - Inman, SC
“Dear Don was like a brother to me. I first knew him in high school, and then we rekindled a close friendship in our college years-this friendship...Read More »
4 of 33 | Posted by: Ann Simon Yakin - Greenville, SC
“We will miss Don so very much. He was a dear friend and we treasured his stories and kindness.
5 of 33 | Posted by: Kelby and Angela Hutcheson - SC
“Don had a heart of gold. Every time we saw him he had a smile on his face. His humor and wit was one of a kind and he never met a stranger! Don was...Read More »
6 of 33 | Posted by: Missy and Fritz orr - Landrum, SC
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Scott and Robin and their families. The mark of this exceptional man and father is seen in his wonderful and...Read More »
7 of 33 | Posted by: Bill Muckler - Cocoa, FL
“With deepest sympathy at this of sorrow. May you find comfort in special memories.
8 of 33 | Posted by: Tammy Kelly - Greer, SC
“I had the opportunity to spend time with Don and his family over the holidays . His quiet strength and great love for them shined brightly, while he...Read More »
9 of 33 | Posted by: Sandra Freeman - MOUNT PLEASANT, SC
“I just want the Family to know that Donald and I attended Palmetto Boys State in the summer of 1952. He was elected Governor and I was elected...Read More »
10 of 33 | Posted by: Julian Fincher - Columbia, SC
“Don and his wife gave me one of my most talented football players -The Wade Hampton Cherokees Thank you M/M Spann.God Bless
11 of 33 | Posted by: Jack Shuford - Taylors, SC
“A friend sent me the obituary that was in the Charleston Courier. I was sorry to read of his passing. He was our neighbor and friend and Scott had...Read More »
12 of 33 | Posted by: A friend
“I lived across the street from Don and his family on Blaine Drive, MCAS, Kaneohe, Hawaii during the period 1959 to 1962. I always remembered him...Read More »
13 of 33 | Posted by: Richard Reynolds - CO
“Don was a role model when I was an adolescent and a mentor as I grew. His friendship was a reliable one and I pray that some of his admirable...Read More »
14 of 33 | Posted by: Wayne Williams - Columbia, SC
“Fond memories. Semper fi!
15 of 33 | Posted by: Jennifer Gorman - Greenville, SC
“May his memory be eternal. Timothy O. Manos, and family.
16 of 33 | Posted by: A friend
“Sending love and deepest sympathy to Betty Jo, Scott, Robin, and all the family. So many, many of us loved "Don Spann, the Muscle Man"!
17 of 33 | Posted by: Stella Parrish - Columbia, SC
“My Prayers and Thoughts of a Great Man. I never forget the word " PERSEVERANCE"
18 of 33 | Posted by: Grady Derrick - Columbia, SC
“God bless you Don and family at this time of remembrance of a truly remarkable life of courage, creativity, triumph and service. The Greenville...Read More »
19 of 33 | Posted by: Thomas R. Callaway - Greenville, SC
“We were blessed beyond measure by the Lord to know and love Don. The Lord used Don to touch many lives including ours. Don freely shared his scar...Read More »
20 of 33 | Posted by: Dave and Renee Meyers - MN
“I have indeed been blessed to be one of Don's many friends. I met Don through CBS Bible Study about 15 years ago. In 2004, Don invited me to join...Read More »
21 of 33 | Posted by: Dick Renner - Greenville, SC
“I vividly remember being at the Spann's house in the mid-1970s and Mr. Spann would excitedly show Robin and me different ideas he had working with...Read More »
22 of 33 | Posted by: Joel Shaw - Greenville, SC
“I do not have the words to describe the blessings of having Don as a best friend for over 20 years. Bob
23 of 33 | Posted by: Bob Harrison - Greenville, SC
“Robin, I now know where you get your beautiful mind. What a man. What a legacy. Blessings and peace to the extended Spann family.
24 of 33 | Posted by: Mary Tutteow - Mt Pleasant, SC
“Don and I had many ties together. He was a customer,a person that I listened too, a man of vast scientific knowledge, understanding. he always got up...Read More »
25 of 33 | Posted by: Don Sorrells - Greenville, SC
“On behalf of the Greenville Airport Commission, past and present, please accept our condolences on the passing of one of our finest, Don Spann. His...Read More »
26 of 33 | Posted by: Joe Frasher - Greenville, SC
“All of us had a great time when we spent a few days together reminiscing at the MCAS2 reunion in Phoenix a few years ago. It was good to see you...Read More »
27 of 33 | Posted by: William LaPolla - Roseburg, OR
“ROBIN AND FAMILY, SO SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS. I WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER DON'S FAMOUS WORDS WITH A BIG HUG "WHO IS THE UNCLE YOU LOVE THE MOST". YOU ARE IN...Read More »
28 of 33 | Posted by: SANDRA HUGGINS - MULLINS, SC
“We will all miss Don's testimonies and stories about those he loved. What a testimony HE was to the world. It was a better place because he was here...Read More »
29 of 33 | Posted by: Dianne Lever - Kiawah Island, SC
“Robin & Trey, Your Father was a most amazing man & had quite a very special life & is so loved by his family. Sending much love & condolences to all.
30 of 33 | Posted by: Jeanie & Burt Karmiel - SC
“What a beautiful obituary for such a distinguished gentleman who will be sorely missed by all who were fortunate to have known him. You will see...Read More »
31 of 33 | Posted by: Ginny Good - Charleston, SC
“Jaimie and I send our thoughts and prayers to BeeJay, Scott, and Robin and their families. We loved Uncle Don and treasured his friendship.
32 of 33 | Posted by: Roger McQueen - Florence, SC
“So sorry to hear of Don's passing prayers are with his family from the Reeves
33 of 33 | Posted by: Gladys and johnny Reeves - SC
Donald Carroll Spann, 82, passed away peacefully on January 6, 2017 in Charleston, South Carolina surrounded by family.
He was a much beloved Father; Brother; Family Man; Marine; and Inexhaustable entrepreneur/business man and lover of the Lord.
"Don" was born and raised in Greenville, SC on November 18, 1934 to the late Benjamin Mabry Spann and Lucille Hollis Spann.
He attended Augusta Circle Elementary, Greenville Junior High and Greenville Senior High Schools. An outstanding student, he represented his class every year as the Class President and was then elected Student Body President as a senior. Don was chosen to attend Boy's State where he was elected governor and was further selected to represent South Carolina at Boy's Nation in Washington, D.C.
A multi-talented athlete, he played football, wrestled, and ran track performing well enough to play for the Washington and Lee Generals in Lexington, Virginia. Later, he transferred to the University of South Carolina to join Betty Jo McQueen whom he wed in 1956. Their marriage lasted 44 years, but their devotion to each other still carries on to this day.
In 1958, he was commissioned as a United States Marine and served in the 1st Marine Brigade as an Air Controller with MACS- (2) Deuce while stationed in Honolulu, Hawaii. He proudly wore the mantle of a marine and retired after 20 years of service to his country.
At the conclusion of his active duty, Don returned to the mainland where he worked in Houston with Bob McNair and then settled back home in Greenville. He then opened Village Galleries, a furniture store, with his brother, Henry.
Don also worked in the textile industry for Wunda Weve, Phillips fibers and Reeves Brothers. He developed the two- sided sponge we are all familiar with today.
The 1970's economic depression led him to seek a more stable career in medical sales. He desired a company of his own and this became the Brainchild now known as Span-America. From humble beginnings in his own living room, he rapidly grew a multitude of foam medical products; most notably "egg crate foam mattress pads" to prevent bed sores, and a great many patented patient positioners that he saw a need for. Being the compassionate visionary that he was, he derived a great pleasure in being able to design and develop products that would help people. His company went public and after the IPO, Span-America became the top performing stock on the NASDAQ in 1985.
Flying was a life long passion of Don's and he was fortunate to have owned several airplanes. He described flying as "incredibly peaceful and felt he was maybe catching a glimpse of the world from the perspective of God." He was also especially honored to have served as Chairman for 2 unprecedented terms on the Greenville Downtown Airport Commission and could be found hanging around the Downtown airport even after his 12 years of service on the Commission ended.
During these years, he also established and hosted the Fidelity Federal Open Swim Meet for elite swimmers across the country. Don also built a marina in Charleston named Ripley Light. His foresight and special building techniques allowed Ripley Light Marina to be the sole unscathed marina during Hurricane Hugo. Don and Henry developed a beautiful subdivision named Chelsea Woods in Greenville, which exists today because of Don's uncanny ability as a visionary to see what can be and his commitment to follow through.
Later years took him to Landrum, South Carolina where at nearly 70 years old, he purchased a farm and built a log cabin, barn, and a covered bridge known as Klickety Klack Covered Bridge, which has been written up in several publications; all with the help of some very special friends he loved, namely Troy Coffey, and Don's faithful tractor "Old Blue".
Don was a long time member and deacon at 4th Presbyterian Church in Greenville, but felt his spiritual life change becoming more devoted to our Lord after a death defying boating accident almost 25 years ago. He subsequently became a member of Kairos Prison Ministry and a long-term devotee to his Bible study group.
When not creating businesses, leading political groups, heading the airport commission, building marinas, managing statewide gubernatorial campaigns, developing athletic events, ministering to others, building houses, decks and bridges, being a husband and devoted father - he enjoyed another of God's gifts - he was blessed with a musical ear. He could pick up any new instrument and in no time seem like a lifelong aficionado. Playing the piano, especially for others, was one of his most favorite hobbies and one of his greatest joys.
His last venture focused on a series of naturally based products promoting healing via stem cell augmentation. Even in his late 70s and early 80s he was teaching himself the science and necessary vernacular to once again further his iconoclastic approach to a newly found passion.
He is survived by two children whom he dearly loved - his son Scott Weaver Spann (Beth Ballard Spann) of Austin, TX and their three children Austin, Alexi and Scott, Jr. and great granddaughter Ayven; and daughter Robin Spann McCraw (Trey McCraw) of Charleston, SC and their five children, Katie, Campbell, Morgan, Sophie-Earle and Connor; as well as his bother, Henry Spann and former wife of 44 years and beloved friend, Betty Jo McQueen Spann, both of Greenville, SC.
There will be a memorial service to celebrate his life in Greenville, South Carolina at First Presbyterian Church, 200 W. Washington St., on Saturday, January 21, 2017 at 2 o'clock p.m.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations in Don's honor to Wounded Warriors Project, P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, KS 66675.
A proud marine, Major Donald Carroll Spann's body will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery at a future date. Among his final words was the pride he felt for his Band of Brothers when he gave a big smile and said : "Oo-rah"!.
Upcoming Funeral Services
Reception (Following Service)
First Presbyterian Church