October 21, 1959 - April 5, 2020
Colchester, CT -- Zachary John Spangler passed away unexpectedly of a heart attack on April 5, 2020 in Connecticut. His passing during the Covid crisis made a dark time, much darker for his family and friends. Zachary was born on October 21, 1959 at the Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland, the third son of Donald and Beverly Spangler. He was extremely proud of his birthplace. This made him a loyal and dedicated Baltimore Orioles fan for the rest of his life. He grew up in Janesville, WI, and was active in many sports in town. He especially excelled at baseball and basketball. After high school, he worked at the Legendary Bear Trap Saloon as a bartender, a profession that would serve him well for the rest of his life.
He decided to head west to Santa Barbara, CA in 1984. The move was just what he needed. He worked his way up to a management position at the Santa Barbara News-Press. His true talent was working with restaurants and bars; he was hired by the leading beer wholesaler in town to service the Santa Barbara hospitality industry. This allowed him to become a member of Teamsters Union. During this time, he was truly living his California dream. He lived with several of his brothers, and had many friends from Wisconsin in the area. They all enjoyed the sun, beach and great lifestyle Santa Barbara had to offer.
He moved to Marlborough, CT, to pursue his dream of owning his own bar and restaurant. He worked for Hartford Distributors. He knew this would give him the opportunity to find the right place for his new business. In 1994, he opened Spanky's Rocking Sports Cafe, in Marlborough, and made it into one of the most popular places in the area. Zachary had a truly amazing way with people. He made everyone feel at ease, and was happy to listen to anything they wanted to talk about. He would offer advice, or volunteer to help with a job that needed to be completed. He was extremely loyal to the people he loved: especially, his sister, Colette and brother-in-law, Adel Gobran. They always made sure he had a place to celebrate during the holidays, and made sure everything was "perfect" when he and Shane came over to visit for the weekend.
His life changed forever when his son, Shane Dean, was born in 2005. Shane gave him a reason to push forward, so he could be the best father possible. Zachary had many memorable moments and accomplishments during his life; but nothing could touch the feeling he felt during his time raising Shane.
Zachary is survived by his son, Shane, of Colchester, CT; four brothers and two sisters: Norbert (Jennifer) of Janesville, Timothy, of Janesville, Toby (Amy) of Madison, WI, Eric (Melissa) of Janesville, Colette (Adel) of Newington, CT, Beth Ann (David) Young of Janesville; special friend, Sareen Marie Reinholtz of Colchester, CT; two aunts, Donine Leatherby, of Cottage Grove, MN, and Ruth Gregory, of Milton WI; goddaughter, Kyra Ann Bonnell (Stanton) of Monterey, CA. Also, many cousins; nieces and nephews. He is predeceased by his parents, Donald and Beverly Spangler.
We are hoping (when possible) to have a gathering with his Connecticut friends and family. Funeral services will be held on Saturday, July 25, 12:30 p.m. at St. Patrick Catholic Church, 315 Cherry St., Janesville, with Father Drew Olson officiating. Due to the Covid crisis: We will announce a post-mass gathering after the service if allowed. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributing to the Shane Spangler education fund.
The family would also like to acknowledge all of his amazing friends from Twin Lakes Tavern and the Colchester area, who sent their condolences after Zachary passed.