2019 Hall of Fame Inductee: Mr. Gary Sperdute
He was a young teenager working alongside a master, his contractor father. During that time Gary Sperdute learned many of the masonry skills that eventually led him to southern California where he worked as a union bricklayer and stone mason for many years.
Gary’s dream was to return home, build a log cabin, and spend time with his family while continuing to work in the masonry trade. His dream eventually came to fruition along with an opportunity to follow in his father’s footsteps as the masonry instructor at Lawrence County Vo-Tech. Gary soon realized that he enjoyed working with students and teaching what his father Felix, also a LCAVT/LCCTC Hall of Fame Inductee, had imparted to him so many years ago.
On Monday, September 24th 2018, LCCTC legend Gary Sperdute suddenly passed away while still employed as the masonry teacher. A teacher for 22 years, he will be remembered forever by LCCTC students and faculty, alike.
Though short lived, Gary led a full life that allowed him to ultimately make a difference in many students’ lives; this he deemed as his greatest accomplishment. Much like Felix, Gary had many former students reach out to him for guidance and support for many years after graduating from his Masonry class. Mr. Sperdute clearly made a positive impact on his students.
Decades of students who passed through his theory room and shop would agree with the sentiments from Calvin Lample, who, at the time of his mentor’s passing, had learned so much as a junior that, in his senior year, he could successfully enter the co-op program. “Sperdute was the go-to guy for help, whether it was masonry or someone to talk to. Even if we disagreed, he'd call me into his office to remind me that if he didn’t care, he wouldn’t correct me. He was more than just a teacher.” Lample smiles and recalls, “He was family.”
Notorious for his robust sense of humor. Mr. Neve adds that his most memorable time was when 'Sperdut' wanted to learn to play racquetball; if that wasn't funny enough, after the workout -- mostly spent in laughter, he always begged to go and grab dessert! He was a real character." Many staff members can claim similar stories to share with a smile.
Mr. Rich states that “Mr. Sperdute built and expanded upon the legacy of his father, Felix. He was liked and respected by all those who knew him, and the students who had him in class have been profoundly touched by this tragedy. We take solace in the good and lasting work that Mr. Sperdute did during his tenure at LCCTC. The results of his outstanding tenure and his influence on students will continue to live on beyond his lifetime. Mr. Sperdute’s students, in a very real sense, are monuments to his life and dreams.
And his dream was realized; with his wife, Pam, Gary continued in the masonry trade, built his log cabin, and was proud to spend time with his family.
As we remember this man and the incredible impact he has made for our school and on the people who served with him, we remember Mr. Sperdute with a broad smile. He was not just a masonry teacher; he was a great man, a great citizen, and a great mentor.
Mr. Sperdute, “The Legend,” will live on in LCCTC history.