Merwin “Gene” Eugene Spragg

Merwin “Gene” Eugene Spragg

April 2, 1943 – April 29, 2021

It is with profound sadness that the family of Merwin Eugene Spragg announces his passing on April 29, 2021, at the age of 78. He passed away at his home in Lovell after having complications from the coronavirus. 

He was born in Greybull on April 2, 1943. His parents were Merwin “Pete” Spragg and Dorothy Spragg. He was married to Linda E. Hoffmeyer on July 22, 2005. He was previously married to Lamduan Paksangkanay and Janice Nousi. 

He spent his childhood in Lovell, where he was an alumnus and valedictorian of the class of 1961 of Lovell High School. He continued his education and completed a bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Wyoming in 1966. 

As an active Air Force ROTC member, he earned his regular commission as a USAF 2nd Lieutenant. His initial assignment was as a B-52 aircraft maintenance officer at Castle AFB at Atwater, California. He subsequently served two tours in Thailand during the Vietnam War as an F-4 maintenance officer. In 1971, he received his master’s degree in Aerospace Mechanical Engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology. He later served with the Ballistic Missile Division at Norton AFB at San Bernardino, California, assisting with rocket engine development and as an Organization Commander for missile launches.

After 20 years in the service, Gene completed his Air Force career as a member of the Air Force Inspector General team at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He was a distinguished Air Force military officer with Vietnam Service. He then began his second career at Lockheed Martin Corporation while residing in Redlands, California. While at Lockheed, he worked at the “Skunk Works” on various developments that were top secret. Later, he was so proud of his work with the stealth fighter, he referred to the aircraft as “his plane.” After 14 years with Lockheed, he retired to Lovell in 2003. He finally got to come “home.”

Over his life he devoted much of his free time in the Boy Scout program as an Eagle Scout and a leader when his son was in Scouts. He loved reading, singing, hunting and sharing his knowledge with the younger generation. He was active in black powder competitions and meetings as well as a member of the Lovell American Legion Post 11. 

His advice for a good life given to his daughter on the day he left us: “Find Jesus; it changed my life for the better.” That went hand in hand with his joining AA, which led to proudly receiving 29 coins for sobriety. 

Gene was preceded in death by his parents, Merwin and Dorothy. 

He is survived by his wife, Linda; sisters Joyce Hawley and Sherry (Stu) Morthole; children Lisa (Jim) Chaney, Landa (Greg) Kowalski, Eric (Tamra) Spragg, Jo E. Schlekewy and Lynn (Jeffrey) Barrett; and grandchildren Elizabeth Chaney, Sarah Chaney, Nolan Kowalski, Gavin Kowalski, Landon Kowalski, Conor Barrett and Kayleigh Barrett. 

Funeral services were held at the Lovell Bible Church on Tuesday, May 4. There was a viewing at the church at 9:30 a.m., followed by services at 10 a.m. and military honors at the Lovell Cemetery. 

Memorial donations in memory of Gene can be made to North Big Horn Senior Citizens Center or Lovell-Kane Museum.