Daniel Springer remembered for theater work and as excellent father, sibling
COLUMBIA — A gifted designer and technician, Daniel Springer taught students how to construct theater sets and build their lives, family members and colleagues said.
"He was a good teacher because he really connected with students," Melissa Alpers-Springer, his wife, said.
Daniel Edward Springer of Columbia died Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011, at his home. He was 50. He had battled esophageal cancer for two and a half years.
Mr. Springer was born on Nov. 17, 1960, to Eugene Claude and Anne Marie (Knoblauch) Springer in Rolla.
He grew up in Bourbon, the third of six children. Mr. Springer was “a fantastic older brother,” his younger sister, Susie Scott, said. “He always kept me out of trouble. Dan put everyone before himself.”
Mr. Springer married Melissa Alpers on April 20, 1985.
"He was my soul mate and a great, dedicated father. He loved to cook; he kept us alive," Alpers-Springer said.
He graduated from Missouri State University in 1983, and he taught at MU for more than 17 years. He was a member of Alpha Psi Omega, a theater fraternity. As the supervisor of stage services for the Theatre Department, Mr. Springer worked with hundreds of students serving as both teacher and mentor.
Mr. Springer was also an avid outdoorsman. He loved to fish, sail, ski, climb and garden.
"Wherever he lived, he had a garden," his mother, Anne Marie Springer, said. "When he lived in Springfield, he had a garden in the front yard, and when he lived in Columbia, he had a garden in his backyard. He grew tomatoes back there. He loved working with his hands."
Working with his hands and working with students were two of Mr. Springer's passions. Those two came together in the construction of sets for the MU Theatre Department.
“Dan has influenced a generation of students and theater artists who were forever transformed by knowing him and working with him,” said Jon Drtina, associate teaching professor of design at MU.
Mr. Springer is survived by his wife, Melissa Alpers-Springer; three children, Kate Springer of Champaign, Ill., Emily Springer and Paul Springer, both of Columbia; his parents, Eugene and Anne Springer of Bourbon; five siblings, Tom Springer and his wife, Chris, of Boonville, Patty Pratt and her husband, Tim, of Steelville, Susy Scott and her husband, Brad, of Des Peres, Jim Springer and his wife, Carol, of Saugatuck, Mich., and Christy Hall of Sullivan; aunts; uncles; cousins; nieces; and nephews.
A visitation will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at Memorial Funeral Home, 1217 Business Loop 70 W. Services will be at 4 p.m. at Unitarian Universalist Church, 2615 Shepard Blvd.
A fundraiser will be held for the Springer family on Oct. 8 at Belmont Vineyards and Winery, 5870 Old Highway 66, Leasburg.
Memorial contributions can be made to the Scholarship Fund for a Technical Theatre Student at MU. For more information go to caringbridge.org/visit/danspringer or go to the Dan Springer Fights Cancer Facebook page.
Tributes can be posted at memorialfuneralhomeandcemetery.com.