Cover photo for Gary S. Spotanski's Obituary
Gary S. Spotanski Profile Photo
1948 Gary 2019

Gary S. Spotanski

January 29, 1948 — November 29, 2019

Gary Spotanski, 71, of Grand Island passed away on Friday, November 29, 2019, at CHI Health St. Francis in Grand Island after a lengthy battle of lung disease tied to his time serving on the U.S.S. Enterprise during the Vietnam War.

Funeral services will be held Thursday at 10:30 am at Trinity Lutheran Church, 212 W. 12th St., with Pastor Adam Snoberger officiating. Burial with Military Honors will be in the Grand Island Cemetery.

Visitation will be Wednesday from 5 to 7 pm at Apfel Funeral Home – Grand Island, 1123 W. Second St.

Gary was born on January 29, 1948, in Loup City, NE to Stanley and Helen (Karslon) Spotanski. He graduated from Loup City High School in 1966, and then attended Kearney State College (now University of Nebraska at Kearney). He enlisted and served four years in the United States Navy traveling the globe, spending time in Brazil, the Philippines, Hawaii, among other locations. Upon discharge from the Navy, he returned to school for a short time and later completed his Bachelor’s degree through Bellevue University.

He married Paula (Paulson) Spotanski on January 25, 1975 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Grand Island, NE, where they lived and raised their children (Kerry and Mark). Gary had a long career in purchasing/procurement working for Chief Industries, Chief Automotive, and retiring from TMC, Inc. During his entire career, he was very active with the National Purchasing Association.

He was an avid golfer, enjoyed fishing trips with his friends, and loved all Husker athletics. Time spent traveling with his family, especially to Florida, and watching his grandchildren’s sports were extremely important to him.

Gary devoted years of impactful service to Trinity Lutheran Church, serving as both President of the Congregation and Foundation, on numerous committees, and 40+ years as an Usher. Memorials are suggested to support the Trinity Lutheran Church Foundation.

Gary was preceded in death by his parents, Stanley and Helen Spotanski, and parents-in-law Ivan and Marjorie (Ernst) Paulson. He is survived by his wife Paula Spotanski, son Mark Spotanski, daughter Kerry Hatzenbuehler, her husband Todd Hatzenbuehler and grandchildren Grant and Ethan. He is also survived by his sisters and brother, Geri Wissing (Norman), Norma Janulewicz (Paul), and Richard Spotanski (Pat).

Online condolences may be left at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Gary S. Spotanski, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Wednesday, December 4, 2019

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Apfel Funeral Home - Grand Island

1123 West 2nd Street, Grand Island, NE 68801

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Thursday, December 5, 2019

Starts at 10:30 am (Central time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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