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Richard A. Sponseller, 63, of Warsaw, passed away peacefully at 12:43 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2010 at his home surrounded by his family after a nine-month battle with esophageal cancer.
He was born June 19, 1947 in Warsaw, a son of Robert O. and Ruth M. (Hawley) Sponseller.
He married Donna (Shively) Pettit Sponseller July 26, 1991. She survives.
He was a farmer and started helping local farmers while he was in high school, being a simple man who loved the smell of the earth in the spring, it was then that he knew that he wanted to be a farmer. After serving in the United States Army, he returned home and owned a bulk milk route hauling milk into Milnot in Warsaw. He and his brother started raising ducks for Maple Leaf Farms which continued for a span of 30 years.
He attended Etna Green grade school and graduated from Mentone High School in 1966. He served in the U.S. Army and while stationed in Vietnam, was wounded during a firefight, receiving a Purple Heart. He seldom spoke of his wounds and many that knew him never noticed his limp from the bullet that tore through his leg. Sponseller was a longtime member of the Etna Green United Methodist Church, most recently serving as chairman of the board of trustees. He served on the local Soil and Water Conservation committee and was a Farm Bureau member. He enjoyed collecting farm toys and Case tractors, always enjoying a tractor show and seldom missed a local toy show. He also loved attending his grandchildrenâ€™s school and sporting events. He will be greatly missed by his family and friends.
Survivors include his wife, Donna Sponseller of Warsaw; three children, Kim (Eric) Waggoner of Etna Green, Chris (Travena) Pettit of Mentone and Josh (Melissa) Pettit of LaPorte; and three brothers, Steve (Jan) Sponseller and Bryan (Lisa) Sponseller, both of Atwood and and Gary (Kathy) Sponseller of Etna Green; 10 grandchildren; five nephews; and two nieces.
Funeral service will be 10:30 a.m. Monday at Etna Green United Methodist Church in Etna Green with Pastor Joe Lampton officiating. Visitation will be 2 to 7 p.m. Sunday at King Memorial Home, 101 North Tucker Street in Mentone. Burial at Harrison Center Cemetery in Etna Green where graveside military rites will be conducted by the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars of Warsaw.
Memorial contributions to the Etna Green United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 161, Etna Green, IN 46524. Online condolences may be sent at www.hartzlerfuneralservices.com.