Milton (Milk) John Spaniel | Ennis News
Milton (Milt) John Spaniel, born to Czech farming immigrants, Leslie and Antonie Valek Spaniel, in Ennis, Texas on May 13, 1936, died peacefully at his home on August 14, 2022 with his beloved wife of 61 years, Janice Spaniel, and her two children, Tom Spaniel and Molly Spaniel, by her side.
He will be welcomed into heaven by his parents, Leslie and Antonie Spaniel, as well as his brother-in-law, Tony Prachyl, his in-laws, Charlie and Martha Kocian, his granddaughter, Bryce Elizabeth Spaniel, and his beloved grand-dogs. , Astro, Pepper, Max, Lucky, Schatze and Tina.
Many friends and family will remember him fondly, including the love of his life, Janice Spaniel, his son and daughter-in-law, Tom and Kelly Spaniel, and their children, Shelby, Abby and Griffin Spaniel. He is also survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Molly Spaniel and Seth Conley and their respective children, Reilly Spaniel and Miles Conley. Finally, he will be survived by a 61-year-old freezer who will likely continue to keep frozen food in the garage for another 61 years.
After graduating from St. John’s Catholic High School in Ennis, TX in 1955, Milt headed Navarro College until he saved enough money to attend the University of North Texas where he graduated. his bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1960. Immediately after college, he joined the United States Air Force, stationed in Amarillo from 1960 to 1966, and was awarded the American Spirit Medal of Honor for his outstanding leadership qualities best expressing “honor, loyalty and great example to comrades-in-arms” and gained valuable skills for his 32-year career in the defense industry as a project manager in manufacturing engineering in the production of aircraft and rocket launchers for domestic and international programs at Vought, LTV, and Lockheed Martin, including the MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System) program, which has taken him to many locations in the whole world, including Turkey, Pakistan, Germany and Japan.
His children and grandchildren were Milt’s proudest achievement. He enjoyed staying active and involved in their school and extracurricular activities. He and Janice have never missed a “Grandparents Day”. A little known fact, he was instrumental in keeping St. Rita Catholic School alive when it was in danger of closing in the early 70s through his aggressive campaign for the school with the Principal of Catholic Schools in Dallas. He was thrilled to be an assistant scout leader, helping scouts earn merit badges and helping his son, Tom, earn scouting’s toughest and highest honor, his Eagle Scout badge. He also helped run the junior golf program at Hot Springs Village after realizing his first grandson, Reilly Spaniel, had a natural talent for golf. He stayed involved in junior golf to see his 3 other grandchildren participate and also win various awards. While his grandson Reilly was in the Indian Guides program at the YMCA, he loved being able to bring a unique advantage over the competition for his Indian Guides Pine Car Derby race by having aerospace engineers design his car out of pine to maximum speed and wind resistance. (no cheating involved though!). A devout Catholic, Milt was heavily involved in his church communities, St. Rita Catholic Church in Dallas and Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in Hot Springs Village, where he ran or attended events such as the annual St. Rita Seafood, St. Rita Men’s Club, Adoration Chapel and countless others. Representing Knights of Columbus Council #10208 from 2002-2007 as a 3rd and 4th Degree Knight, he founded and chaired “Friends of St. Michaels” to help the Sisters of Charity in Hot Springs, AR raise funds , renovate and convert their facility to a childcare program after their school closes. He was named Knight of the Year in 2004 by his local council and by the Arkansas State Council in recognition of his outstanding service, leadership, and support of their “principles of order.” He continued community work for his council as community director from 2010 to 2016, chairing 14 programs that raised over $100,000 in funds for families in need, including those with developmental disabilities (PID ), Special Olympics and 5 other charities. For his many efforts, he has been named Knight of the Year by his local Knights of Columbus council three times and Knight of the Month multiple times. A proud first-generation Czech-American, Milt founded and led the Dallas/Brno Sister Cities program from 1991-1999, which brought important city and national dignitaries to and from Dallas and Brno, Czech Republic. He also enjoyed attending events at the Czech Hall in Dallas and dancing the waltz or polkas with Janice. Upon retirement in 1999, he and Janice moved from North Dallas to their lakeside home in Hot Springs Village, AR and continued to travel around Europe as much as they could. It should be noted that his 3-ring planning binders were a masterpiece to behold. There was never a more in-depth compilation of information before or after the event. When he wasn’t traveling, he could be found golfing, fly-fishing the “Little Red”, taking friends and family on countless boat rides, tinkering around in his sprawling garden, making to-do lists or one of his many “signature” plan binders, grilling a rack of ribs that would make Aaron Franklin’s mouth water, or giving back to his community through the through his church or his leadership within the Knights of Columbus.
As anyone who knew him would agree, Milt could be stubborn, fiercely committed to his point of view despite any evidence to the contrary, and aggressively persistent until a task was completed. But above all, he was always present and relentlessly protective of his family. He will be missed by many.
A funeral mass will be held for Milt on Saturday, August 20, 2022 at 12:15 p.m. at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, 600 East Marvin Avenue, Waxahachie, TX 75165. A reception will immediately follow at the Knights of Columbus Hall at 325 Broadhead Rd, Waxahachie, TX 75165. Interment will be attended by immediate family only at Calvary Hill Cemetery Mausoleum in Dallas, TX. In lieu of flowers, the family humbly requests that donations be sent in Milt’s name to one of the charities close to his heart: St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital People with Intellectual Disabilities (PID) Special Olympics Alzheimer’s Association American Cancer Society