Brother Charles Sprietzer, O.S.F.
Charles Spreitzer, son of Matthew and Mary Delaney Spreitzer, was born in Ely, Minnesota on February 20, 1931. When he was ten years old, his parents and he moved to Inglewood in southern California to join his brother, Matthew, who settled there after having served in World War II. Shortly after graduating from Mt. Carmel High School, Los Angeles in 1949, Charles entered the Franciscan Brothers on February 11, 1950. Charles was quite a story teller and enjoyed regaling his friends and the students in his Theology classes with funny tales that would occasionally stretch or embellish the truth. He loved to retell the story of his maiden voyage from California to New York City and how he walked around Perm Station in a long trench coat with a heart shaped box of Valentines Day candy, looking for "Kings Park". He received the Franciscan habit and the Religious name "Gilbert" on August 2, 1950 and made his profession of vows two years later on July 26, 1952. He remained close to his brother, Matthew, and they would take turns calling each other with Spreitzer efficiency every Saturday at the specified time. Matthew welcomed Charles home every summer for the month of August, and over the years his gracious hospitality was also extended to a number of the Franciscan brothers. Brother Gilbert began his ministry as an elementary school teacher at Our Lady of Good Counsel, Brooklyn (1952-1956), then St. Mary Star of the Sea, Brooklyn (1956-1958), St. Brigid, Ridgewood(l 958-1960) and St. Bartholomew, Elmhurst (1960-1961). He continued his ministry at the secondary level first at St. Leonard's High School (1961-1962) followed by St. Anthony's Smithtown (1962-1964) and Bishop Ford, Park Slope (1964-1976). He changed his name back to his baptismal name Charles in 1969. Beginning in the summer of 1976 he assisted in the formation of a group of Brothers for the Diocese of Gallup, New Mexico. In 1977 Brother Charles returned to St. Anthony's High School. While Charles never drove a car, he never let that ever stop him from getting around. After many years of teaching at St. Anthony's in South Huntington, he moved into Bishop Ford High School in Brooklyn in 1992 where he felt he would have greater mobility. He especially loved taking the subway into Manhattan and entertaining himself, while not having to bother anyone for a ride. He retired in 1999 and moved to OLA Friary in 2002. When illness necessitated his leaving Our Lady of Angels Friary and taking up permanent residence at the Bishop Mugavero Home in 2003, he never complained and enjoyed visits from friends and his Brothers. He had a grateful heart because of the good care he was receiving there Charles accepted the feeding tube for the last few months of his life and was ready and willing when the good Lord called this "pilgrim from California" Home to his final place of rest. Brother Charles died peacefully in Long Island College Hospital on March 24, 2009