John Spooner

John SpoonerA Celebration of Life service will be held at The Summit at Canyon Hills in Bakersfield for John Robert Spooner, who passed away peacefully Nov. 25, 2019, after a long hospitalization for major head injuries due to a bicycle accident in August 2019. He was 68.

John was born in Ridgecrest on June 16, 1951, to Robert A. Spooner and Margaret (Kasi) Spooner. He attended James Monroe Elementary School in Ridgecrest, Sherman E. Burroughs High School in China Lake, Bakersfield College, and California State University Bakersfield, graduating in 1975 with a bachelor of arts in public administration. While at CSUB, he met his future wife and love of his life, Melba Alipio. They were married May 8, 1976.

After graduating from college, he was employed as a field representative for the American Cancer Society and volunteered for a group called Couples Against Cancer. After a few years, he worked as a personnel analyst for Kern County. He left the county to became the personnel director at WITCO-Golden Bear Refinery.

In 1984 he changed careers and became a general building contractor, building many homes in Bakersfield and in Ridgecrest. During this time, he volunteered and was on the board of the Bakersfield Association of Retarded Citizens and served as president.

Due to health problems, he gave up his contracting business and learned computer skills. He became an expert in the then-new field of occupational health and safety law and wrote a manual on OSHA compliance, which was used as a text at Cuesta Community College in San Luis Obispo. He later used his IT skills to become a mortgage banker and finally a vice president and IT director for a mortgage lending company.

While growing up, he enjoyed exploring the desert, riding his bicycle and participating in school sports, particularly basketball. He continued playing basketball in high school and community college until his participation ended because of a knee injury. In his later years, he enjoyed body building, playing and restoring guitars and bike riding. He felt “alive again” when he rode his electric bike.

John was a loving, caring and generous husband, father and friend. He would go out of his way, with no hesitation, to help family members, friends, children (he sponsored several children in foreign countries until they became young adults), acquaintances, people he met on the street (stopping to give them money or buy them shoes and socks) and even various small animals and birds (feeding feral cats, rabbits and crows while on his bike rides). He was fondly known as “Spoon,” “Big Spoon”or “Spooner.” John was a kind person who encouraged others to do their best.

He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Melba; sons, Jason and Jonathan; sister, Sara Flowers; brother, Andy Spooner; and numerous nephews and nieces.

Thank you to the staff at Olive View UCLA Medical Center for their compassionate care of John during his final days.

— Submitted by the family of John Spooner

Story First Published: 2019-12-13