Sarah (Sally) Starr
I remember talking with Barry at--maybe it was our 10th? reunion. He seemed to have a really interesting life as a pilot flying cargo planes. I was really looking forward to seeing him again. Does anyone know what happened to him? Sarah Starr
Sally Starr, I was in touch with Barry Spano [1946-2004] through his life. It was expected that he and I would see each other and talk several times in any year. Barry died of cancer, which started as prostate cancer, in 2004, short of reaching his 58th birthday. Although he and I met in an isolated incident in the 7th grade, we did not become friends until the 10th grade. Sometime 15 to 20 years before he died, Barry was in a low altitude plane crash, while working as a flight instructor. He was seriously injured, but recovered to live a reasonably normal life. His appearance was changed drastically, and I used to say that his face had been redesigned by Picasso. He had lingering problems from the crash, but they probably had nothing to do with his shortened life. He did suffer when near death. At the end of his life, he was living with his mother in the Palisades area of DC. He was never married and had no kids. As gentle and evidently peace loving as he was, Barry was very pro-military. He served one enlistment as a Marine, then switched to the Army, and was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam. He continued in the Army Reserves, as a warrant officer, until his injuries from the crash disqualified him. Although I knew Barry for over 40 years, I did not know his family, and his mother was the only relative I met more than once. The attached picture of him is from 2000.
From the Washington Post, August 28, 2004
Spano, Bartholomew, Jr. (Age 57) Died on August 25, 2004 in the District of Columbia at his home in the Palisades after a long struggle with cancer. Known by his family and friends as "Barry" Mr. Spano was a helicopter and fixed wing instructor and commercial pilot and formerly worked for Henson Aviation as a staff pilot. Mr. Spano was a graduate of Bethesda Chevy Chase High School in 1964 and enlisted in the United States Marines in 1966. He received his military training at Parris Island and then at Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico where he earned a sharp shooter medal and became a certified airframe and power plant mechanic. He then transferred to the Army Flight School at Fort Rucker, Alabama. Mr. Spano served in Viet Nam in 1969 where he served as a helicopter pilot and flew dozens of mission over South Vietnam. He was wounded by enemy fire in the performance of his duty while evacuating wounded under combat conditions. For his extraordinary efforts he was awarded the Purple Heart. He then was restationed in Ashaffenburg, Germany and entered the reserves in 1972. In 1975 he received a Bachelors degree at the University of Maryland and was discharged from the U.S. Army Reserves in 1986. Mr. Spano was an avid motorcycle collector and member of the Washington, D.C. Norton Motorcycle Club. Survivors include his mother, Pari; siblings, Diana, George, Stephen and Victor and nieces, Madeline and Jessica.