Milo "Rusty" Spurgeon kept up an active lifestyle, anonymously donated to charity

Thursday, May 1, 2014 | 9:31 p.m. CDT; updated 7:13 a.m. CDT, Friday, May 2, 2014

COLUMBIA — At 76-years-old, Milo "Rusty" Spurgeon was the oldest student in his son's taekwondo class, breaking boards with his bare hands.

"Dad never shied away from any experience life had to offer," his son David Spurgeon said. "He wanted to experience everything. He really lived."

Milo "Rusty" Spurgeon of Columbia died Tuesday, April 29, 2014. He was 88.

He was born April 19, 1926, in Pittsburg, Kan. He completed an apprenticeship in the Brotherhood of Painters, Decorators, and Paperhangers of America just a few months before his high school graduation. He joined the army on July 13, 1944, and started basic training at Fort Riley, Kan., emphasizing in small armory repair.

Mr. Spurgeon was wounded March 4, 1945, in the Battle of Remagen. He lost both his feet.

He spent eight months at Bushnell General Army Hospital in Brigham City, Utah, for reconstructive surgery. It took him a year to recuperate and learn how to use his prostheses.

Mr. Spurgeon enrolled at Kansas State Teacher's College and earned his bachelor's degree in 1950. That same year, he married Norma Webber from Eureka Springs, Ark.

Mr. Spurgeon spent the following years immersed in the field of medicine. He attended the University of Kansas School of Medicine, interned at St. Luke's Hospital in Kansas City and then returned to the KU Medical Center for an anesthesiology residency.

He moved to Columbia in 1960, where he worked at Boone County Hospital, Ellis Fischel Cancer Center and Cooper County Memorial Hospital in Boonville. He retired in 1980.

Sarah Marinelli, Mr. Spurgeon's daughter, said he never let anything hold him back from new adventures or experiences. He enjoyed activities such as bicycling, bowling, camping, skiing, swimming and canoeing — to name just a few.

Marinelli remembers the day in junior high when her father participated in a bike-a-thon and won her a 10-speed bike.

"He's a quiet example of when life knocks you down, you get back up again and do the best you can with what you have left," Marinelli said.

Mr. Spurgeon loved to teach his grandchildren woodworking. He also enjoyed church, where he often volunteered.

Mr. Spurgeon's wife, Norma, said he often made anonymous donations to charities such as the Humane Society and Meals On Wheels.

"He liked to do things just because they were the right thing to do," Marinelli said.

Mr. Spurgeon is survived by his wife, Norma, of Columbia; his two sons, Chris Spurgeon and wife Darla Horman, and David Spurgeon and fiance Joan Parsons, all of Columbia; his daughter, Sarah Marinelli, and husband David Marinelli of Purdys, N. Y.; his grandchildren Bryant Spurgeon and wife Christal of Fayette, and Jessica Stroupe and husband Patrick of Armstrong.

A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 1600 Rollins Road. A reception will follow. A private burial will take place at Columbia Cemetery.

Memorial contributions can be made to The Brotherhood Fund at Trinity Presbyterian Church or the Walter Johnson Palliative Care Foundation at Boone Hospital Center.

Online condolences may be left at

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