Herbert J. Spier

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Born in Indianapolis, Indiana on August 6, 1940

Departed on May 22, 2019 and resided in Carmel, Indiana

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Herbert J. Spier, 78, of Carmel passed away May 22, 2019. He was born August 6, 1940, in Indianapolis, the son of the late Herbert John and Pauline (Rentsch) Spier.

Herbert was a graduate of North Central High School. He attended DePauw University, where he was a star center on the basketball team and inducted into the DePauw Athletic Hall of Fame in 1998; he was also active in the Air Force ROTC and a member of Sigma Nu fraternity. While at DePauw, he met Linda Lorton and they were married in 1962. Upon graduation, he followed his childhood dream of flying airplanes and joined the United States Air Force beginning his long-time, highly decorated career ultimately achieving the rank of Major General.

He was deployed for one year in the Vietnam War, flying 283 combat missions. When his tour ended he was awarded the Silver Star, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Purple Heart, and the Bronze Star. Following the Vietnam War, he joined his father’s insurance business, H.J. Spier Co., and served as an independent agent for the next 50 years. While working for his father, he continued his Air Force career with the Indiana Air National Guard in Terre Haute and Fort Wayne. At the culmination of his 34-year career he was a command pilot with over 5,100 flight hours; he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal at his retirement in 1996.

He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Linda Spier; three children, Timothy (Susan) Spier, Tracy (Rob) Osborn, and Lt Col Ted (Sherry) Spier; five grandchildren, Michael John, Gabrielle, Noelle, Coda, and Bodhi; and sister, Nancy (John) Null. He was preceded in passing by a son, Tony Spier.

Memorial services will be at 11:30 a.m. Monday, June 10, 2019, at Flanner Buchanan – Carmel, 325 East Carmel Drive. Visitation will be from 10:00 a.m. until the time of service at Flanner Buchanan – Carmel, 325 East Carmel Drive. Following the service, inurnment with military honors will take place at Oaklawn Memorial Gardens. Memorial contributions may be directed to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Online condolences may be shared by visiting flannerbuchanan.com.

Guestbook Entries

  1. Bruce W. Buchanan May 30, 2019 at 12:25 pm - Reply

    There are few things more difficult than dealing with the loss of a loved one. I am honored that you have chosen our family to care for your family during this time. Please let me know if there is more we can do to help celebrate your loved-one’s life.

    My Warmest Regards,

    Bruce W. Buchanan
    4th Generation Owner
    Since 1881

  2. Dannyliechty May 31, 2019 at 8:47 am - Reply

    He passed into God’s hands. A very great man. Sincere prayers for the family

  3. Greg Wyant May 31, 2019 at 11:07 am - Reply

    A good man! He will be missed!

  4. Bev (Hilgemeier) Smith May 31, 2019 at 4:34 pm - Reply

    Linda, my condolences to you and the kids. You were always very special neighbors to us.

  5. Erin Neathery May 31, 2019 at 7:52 pm - Reply

    Candle 1Sending my love to the entire Spier family. I’m sorry for your loss.

  6. Mary Cameron Bartolotta May 31, 2019 at 8:53 pm - Reply

    Candle 1I went to Carmel and was a classmate of Tim’s. I’m truly sorry for your family’s loss.

  7. Jeff Soldner June 1, 2019 at 7:52 am - Reply

    Herb Spier was one of the very best traditional commanders I had the honor of serving under. He was a true mentor and friend and will be deeply missed by Karen and I

  8. Dave Brubaker June 1, 2019 at 7:56 am - Reply

    One of the finest Officers I ever served under. Set the highest standard of care for the Airmen under his Command.
    Was honored to have him pin on my last promotion. God Speed, General!
    Brig Gen (Ret) Dave “Bru” Brubaker

  9. Rick Clevenger June 1, 2019 at 1:31 pm - Reply

    Herb was a gifted pilot, a model officer, an exceptional commander, and one of the best citizen airman to ever wear the uniform. He was a true friend to the fortunate, a mentor to many, and an example to all. Wishing you CAVU skies and a strong tailwind General.

    Brig Gen (Ret) Rick Clevenger

  10. Stephen Couchman June 1, 2019 at 1:36 pm - Reply

    A true aviator, officer, friend and a treasured member the the RACERS! He will be missed so throw a nickle on the grass.

  11. Dick Leagre June 2, 2019 at 10:35 am - Reply

    Herb and I were pickup basketball buddies at the old Indiana Athletic Club for a lot of years–in the 1970’s and early ’80’s. The games were three-on-three half court that originally started at noon and you had to be one of the first six or miss playing that day. Herb, and then I, would get on the court and then put on our gym shoes so we did not miss the cut-off. I would like to take credit for that idea, but it was Herb who came up with it! I got to know him pretty well over all of those years and he was an absolutely first-class genuinely nice guy guy in addition to being a really good BB player. My condolences to his family.

  12. Wally Foltz June 2, 2019 at 10:59 am - Reply

    Herb and I go back to the first grade. We hooked up again when we went to DePauw and were teammates on the basketball team.He worked extremely hard on his game and became a very good player. It is easy for me to see why he became an excellent pilot having watched and admired his work ethic.We have so many fond memories of our 4 years on the team which are only known to those of us who were his teammates. I’m sure those of us who had the pleasure of competing with him would consider him a ” Stealth Legend.”His exploits on the floor would leave us and the coach in disbelief especially the 40 foot jump shots. Our friendship has endured thru -out the years and means even more now that he is gone. He was a true class act and I will miss him terribly.

    Linda and my wife Michele have become great friends over the years . We are so fortunate to have her friendship as well.She and Herb made a great couple.

    Wally Foltz

  13. darsey gabbard June 2, 2019 at 2:19 pm - Reply

    Candle 2Tony and I were high school friends and up to the day he passed. I had a dream of Tony last night and was looking for anything on him today. I then came across Herbert’s passing. You never met me, but I wanted to send my sincere condolences to your family. It’s never easy to loose a loved one, but know you now have another angel looking over you.

    Peace, love and healing.

  14. Garry Moore June 2, 2019 at 4:05 pm - Reply

    Herb and I were Sigma Nu pledge brothers at DePauw University. Herb had been very active and reliable in staying in touch with all of us Sigma Nu brothers over the years since our graduation. It is clear from his many accomplishments, he was an outstanding gentleman in so many ways. I was deeply saddened to learn of his passing, as I know the rest of our brothers are. My heartfelt condolences to Linda and family members.

  15. Phil Bouillon June 2, 2019 at 5:09 pm - Reply

    A true and inspiring leader!

  16. Jim Beurle June 2, 2019 at 6:47 pm - Reply

    Herb & I were Sigma Nu frat brothers at DePauw for two years when I transferred away. Herb has been the “glue” that kept all of us in touch for all reunions over 60 years. To read all Herb’s great accomplishments is awesome. This gentle giant was so humble -his obituary is absolutely amazing. We will all sorely miss his positive presence in any upcoming get together as we remember past good times. Linda & family, please know you are in our thoughts & prayers.

  17. Bob Gilson June 2, 2019 at 8:33 pm - Reply

    We are deeply saddened by the loss of this great patriot, wonderful leader, good friend, and exceptional member of the Racers. He will be missed.

    With our deepest sympathy.
    Bob (Evil) and Susan Gilson

  18. Wally Mountjoy June 2, 2019 at 11:43 pm - Reply

    I did many remodeling projects with Herb and Linda many years ago ..one night a fresh pine board I had installed in their closet ‘exploded’ loudly… Herb said he jumped out of bed with gun drawn, thinking burglar… very much enjoyed working with this family…herb was a really great guy…

  19. Stuart Cozzens June 3, 2019 at 12:26 pm - Reply

    Herb Spier was truly an outstanding person, a natural leader, and an inspiration to us all. Herb was my sophomore roommate at DePauw. I could not have asked for a better one. We always laughed and joked about him mailing his laundry home to Indianapolis to be laundered. When it was returned, there would be a bag of home made chocolate chip cookies inside, packed in popcorn so they wouldn’t break. The saltiness gave them a terrific taste. We followed each other into the USAF. His time there was most distinguished and recognized by the medals he received. Wow! 83 combat missions. We graduated from flight school around the same time. Herb came to Laughlin AFB in Del Rio, TX to be a flight instructor, so you know he must have been a very good pilot. I left there a week before he arrived, so we just missed each other. My sincere sympathy and condolence to Linda and all of Herb’s family. I will remember him.

  20. Anne Dobson June 3, 2019 at 12:58 pm - Reply

    I’m honored that I got to know Herb through our close friendship with Tracy. He was very humble about his accomplishments in the military and at DePauw; those were stories I mostly hadn’t learned from him yet. Instead, I knew Herb as “Tracy’s Dad”, the guy who enjoyed fishing for salmon on the Columbia River with his son-in-law Rob, my husband Ed, and other friends. Herb was our good luck charm: if he was on the boat, everyone caught a fish. Herb occasionally came out to Oregon to help Tracy in her professional garden work, and we might see him for dinner on those visits. He loved good Oregon pinot noir! I will always carry fond memories of Herb; he was a good man. We are sending our love to Linda, Tim, Ted, Tracy and their families. Thinking of you all during this sad time.

  21. Debra Jo Endres-Ard June 3, 2019 at 2:47 pm - Reply

    Candle 1I am sorry and deeply saddened by your family’s tremendous loss. I worked for Herb, as well as for his father, at the Spier agency in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s in the Circle Tower building in downtown Indianapolis. Herb was a most honorable gentleman for whom I had a tremendous amount of respect, admiration, and appreciation. It was a privilege to know him and a pleasure to work for him. I am tremendously grateful for those opportunities. Please know you are being held close in thought and prayer during this painfully difficult time. Sending my heartfelt condolences and many hugs for all.

  22. Matthew R. Benn June 4, 2019 at 8:39 pm - Reply

    Candle 1I have taken care of Herbs cars for him for as long as I can remember.
    I knew he was a pilot, but never knew about his life till now. What an awesome life he lived and I’m honored to say I was a friend. Thoughts and prayers to the whole family. God Speed Herb

  23. Noreen - Roth -Barker June 5, 2019 at 5:01 pm - Reply

    Candle 1On behave of the the 7&7’s and Carmel High Class of ’82 We would like thank you Herb for not calling us out on all the wine we stole from your hidden stash in the basement. Your were always so gracious about it and we do appreciate that you always replaced the wine for the following occasion! You will be missed!

  24. Noreen - Roth -Barker June 5, 2019 at 5:34 pm - Reply

    Candle 1Oh one more thing Herb…..( Mr. Spier) Thank you for giving me one of the best friends anyone could have, your daughter Tracy. I can’t imagine going through high school and life rest of my adult life with out her! She adored you!!!!!

  25. Brig Gen (Ret) Joseph Greenlee Jr. June 6, 2019 at 10:35 am - Reply

    I want to express my condolences to Linda and children. Herb was a friend who I respected very much. He had a great ability to multitask which helped him become an outstanding citizen soldier. I enjoyed traveling with him in his plane in addition to serving the state of Indiana and the United States Air Force.

  26. Brig Gen (Ret) Joseph Greenlee Jr. June 6, 2019 at 10:55 am - Reply

    I want to express my condolences to Linda and children. Herb was a friend who I respected very much. He had a great ability to multitask which helped him become an outstanding citizen soldier. I enjoyed traveling with him in his plane in addition to our serving the state of Indiana and the United States Air Force

  27. Ellen and Mike Clippinger June 6, 2019 at 11:32 am - Reply

    Our hearts are full of sadness, as well as serenity, in coming to acceptance of the death of our friend of many years: sadness that Herb is no longer with us, but also comfort and a sense of well being in remembering his fulfillment as a husband, brother, father, grandfather, military leader and pilot, and businessman. Herb will be long remembered with love and peace.

  28. The Roussels June 6, 2019 at 5:00 pm - Reply

    Candle 1Sending our deepest condolences to Ted, Sherry, and the entire Spier family. You are all in our prayers.

  29. Ellie Davis Tener June 7, 2019 at 6:24 am - Reply

    I was so saddened to learn of Herb’s passing. He gave so much to DePauw, the military, his business and the family.

    My condolences to Linda and the family.

  30. April Gunbins June 10, 2019 at 7:41 am - Reply

    Candle 5We have lived next door to Herb and Linda since 1991. He will be missed and I know the neighborhood will be watching over Linda. It’s amazing to read these comments and I’m proud to have known him, but I feel I know so much more about the man now. Thank you for you service and love for our country and may you rest in eternal peace in Heaven. Love and condolences to Linda and family.

  31. Phillip DeBolt, CMSgt(ret), 122ndFW June 10, 2019 at 8:12 am - Reply

    Great times with coffee in my office at Baer Field. Considered him as a friend and a great General Officer

  32. Jon Larrick June 10, 2019 at 10:12 am - Reply

    Along with all of our Sigma Nu Brothers I am deeply saddened by the passing of our dear Brother Herb.
    He was a kind, wonderful friend to all of us, taking the lead, keeping us together these many years since our days at DePauw.
    Herb was a real leader. Most amazing about his many distinguished accomplishments is that he never talked about them. A true gentleman, his focus was always on the other guy.
    My thoughts and prayers go to Linda and family.
    Herb will be deeply missed.

  33. Fred Bales June 10, 2019 at 5:24 pm - Reply

    Herb was a classmate, roommate and fraternity brother. Best of all he was a friend.
    In recent year we saw quite a bit of each other because he and Linda had a place
    in Santa Fe. So many memories of a great guy who shared stories of our earlier
    days together. Here’s a final salute to you, general.

  34. Phil Bouillon June 10, 2019 at 11:02 pm - Reply

    Smooth sailing November 6 Fox Tango!

  35. Phil Bouillon June 10, 2019 at 11:19 pm - Reply

    Smooth sailing to you and your family November 6 Fox Tango!

  36. Steve Harloff June 13, 2019 at 3:09 pm - Reply

    My wife Jane and I knew Herb from the events surrounding his daughter Tracy’s wedding to Rob: instantly he was easy to love, making us feel like we had known him for a long time…throughout the wedding he was cordial and lots of fun! He will be missed by many folks. He leaves some awesome kids and grandkids behind to carry on his warm friendliness.

  37. John Swift June 23, 2019 at 11:43 pm - Reply

    I first met Gen. Spier in 1984 at his home. His son Tim & I are fraternity brothers at Purdue & were visiting enroute to a Purdue/Indiana football game at IU. I’ll never forget the gracious hospitality from Herb & Linda treating me like an adopted son at their home. My dad served in Vietnam flying Army C-7 Caribou’s in combat like Herb in the USAF. I remember similarities between Herb & my dad as humble military men who gave all the credit to those Vietnam soldiers who did not make it home to their families. Both said “They made the ultimate sacrifice with their lives and are the ‘real heroes’ and my service was nothing compared to those who gave their lives so others could be liberated from oppressive communism.” Little did I know, but 6 years later Gen. Spier’s wisdom & counsel helped shape my military flying career by pursuing the USAF/Air National Guard units near my home state of NJ where I flew KC-135’s & served 21 years. Currently I fly 747 commercial cargo & military cargo/troops worldwide with Atlas Air for 19 years and seeing many other countries with limited freedom of speech, oppressive governments & human/women’s rights abuses. I count my blessings living in the best country in the world that many take for granted. I am forever grateful for Gen. Spier’s advice for my military flying career & have seen the fruits of his military service alive & well in a thriving Vietnam. I never knew til now the 268(!) combat missions he flew there, that number still blows my mind. My heart & prayers are with you Linda, Tim, Tracy & Ted & your families & I am so thankful to God your husband, dad & Granddad was able to come home from war to share life & memories that remain with all of us. I salute you Gen. Spier as you fly west into the sunset & God bless you.

  38. Janet S. Bell, ( Col., Ret.). June 27, 2019 at 10:53 pm - Reply

    Candle 2I was shocked to learn of Herb’s death upon my return to the States. Not only was MG Spier a military mentor, he became a friend through our business relationship of his company providing coverage to our homes and commercial properties. He was such a humble, successful man proud of his family, and very supportive of my family and my endeavors and achievements. He will be missed!

  39. Sam Kerro September 8, 2019 at 9:25 pm - Reply

    Candle 1I met Herb after moving to Westfield with my son after my wife’s passing. Our lives came together because of an evacuation mission at Kham Duc, Vietnam on Mother’s Day, May 12, 1968. On that day I was involved in the evacuation of troops from Kham Duc not knowing, at that time, he was one of the FAC pilots directing fighter pilots to their targets. As a crew member (Loadmaster) on a C-130 that was scheduled to land and rescue troops I watched as a C-130 already on the ground and loaded took off taking ground fire and crashing into the jungle near the end of the runway with no survivors out of 155 on the plane. We landed after that, loaded up and took off in the other direction not knowing at the time that Herb was the FAC pilot that would help us to get airborne and out of the area. Almost 40 years later I was reading a write up on the Internet about the Kham Duc Evacuation and in it found out Herb was the FAC Pilot. At that time he was a Captain. I searched the internet and found out he lived only a few miles from me so I was able to find a phone number and called him. We got together, Herb, Linda, and myself for dinner and discussed what we had gone thru together and realizing that Herb played a big part in my and my crew along with 150 troops getting out of there alive. Herb and I got together on May 12, 2018 for dinner to acknowledge the 50th Anniversary of the Kham Duc Evacuation. We also attended a dinner held by the Carmel American Legion to commemorate 50 years after Vietnam. I just yesterday went to Washington DC with the Indy Honor Flight and thought to myself that it would have been nice if Herb would have been there too. I was about to gather information to send to the Indy Honor Flight for them to see about Herb going to DC with them when I came upon his obituary.
    Linda, I am so sorry for your loss, he was a great person and I’m so glad I got to know him.

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