Carolyn White Spengler


Carolyn White Spengler, beloved wife of Arthur A. Spengler Jr., and longtime resident of Martha’s Vineyard, passed away on June 30, 2015, at home after more than a yearlong battle with cancer. She will be greatly missed by all who knew her.

Carolyn grew up in Dover, and summered on Martha’s Vineyard. She graduated from the Beaver Country Day School in Chestnut Hill in 1958, and went on to Duke University, graduating in 1961 with a B.A. in political science. Carolyn’s first job was with a nationwide insurance company in Jacksonville, Fla. She left insurance to join the American Field Service (AFS), an international student-exchange organization with which she worked in for several years in New York City and subsequently Indiana.

Carolyn and Arthur were married on Martha’s Vineyard in 1971, and lived in Fort Wayne, Ind. Carolyn started her legal career in 1975 by attending the Indiana University School of Law in Bloomington, Ind. After graduating in 1978 summa cum laude, Carolyn clerked for Judge Thomas P. Griesa, a federal circuit judge for the Southern District in New York City. She returned to Fort Wayne, Ind., following the clerkship to join the firm of Hunt, Suedhoff, Borror, and Eilbacher, which specialized in insurance defense law. Carolyn became the first female partner of the firm. During the 20 years Carolyn practiced law in Indiana, she also served as the president of the Fort Wayne Area Bar Association, and chairman of the local National Public Radio station.

Carolyn and Arthur retired to Martha’s Vineyard in 1999. Carolyn was involved in many clubs and activities, including the Garden Club, the Want to Know Club, a monthly book club, and her much-loved rug-hooking group. Carolyn was a talented seamstress and knitter. She was also a founder of MV Reads, which organizes volunteers to assist elementary school students with reading. Additionally, Carolyn and Arthur traveled widely in Europe, Canada, Alaska, and the continental United States.

Carolyn is survived by Arthur, her brother Ken White and his wife, Kitty; by Arthur’s brother Peter Spengler and his wife, Cindy, and a total of six nieces and nephews and 17 grand-nieces and grand-nephews.

A celebration of Carolyn’s life will be held Sept. 26, 2015, at 12:30 pm at the West Tisbury First Congregational Church — incidentally, where Carolyn and Arthur were married 44 years ago. Transportation for off-Islanders will be provided to the church from the Steamship Authority Terminal in Vineyard Haven, meeting the ferry that arrives at 11:30 am (the ferry departs Woods Hole at 10:45 am). A reception at the church will follow the service.