The Honorable Councilman Donald Golden Spann Sr., age 71, departed this life on Friday, June 2, 2023. Donald was born January 18, 1952, in Gary, Indiana to Jackson and Juanita (nee Pointer) Spann. He was a graduate of West Side High School, class of 1970. Donald enlisted in the United States Navy, where he served for 6 years, receiving an honorable discharge. He was employed at US Steel and Inland (Mittal) Steel for 32 years before retiring in 2002. While there, he served in the capacity of a laborer, crane operator, Local 1010 USWA Union representative, and safety chairman. His mantra was always “Safety First.” He was also a Loaned Executive for the Lake Area United Way and was Loaned Executive of the Year for 2001-2002.
Donald attended Indiana University Northwest in the Labor Studies program. He served on the Board of Directors for Advance Federal Credit Union for 3 terms. He was a Merrillville resident for 27 years, and the former Vice President of the Ross Township Democratic Club. He was also the founder and President of the Bel-Oaks Block Club.
Donald was elected to the Merrillville Town Council in 2011. He was Councilman of his beloved Ward 1 for 12 years, where he worked on various committees serving the public diligently until his untimely death.
Donald, affectionately know as “Duck”, was the consummate jokester and with his fun-loving ways, could put an instant smile on your face. He had a larger-than-life personality that was both charming and endearing. Donald had “the gift of gab” and never met a stranger. He had definite views, and he would talk to you for hours about politics, world events, sports, or any topic of your choice.
He was a die-hard Bears fan and loved his 1985 Superbowl team. He loved to barbecue and was known for his 4th of July cookouts and fireworks. His Christmas decorations were always a delight to the neighbors. He enjoyed spending time outdoors – boating, fishing, bike riding and gardening. He was an animal lover and adored his Cocker Spaniel, “Honey”.
Donald had a servant’s heart of gold that brought him great joy. He was a champion of the elderly and often assisted them with yardwork and other tasks. He was a supporter of those in need and would be the first to ask, “How can I help”? He was a friend to the neighborhood children – repairing bikes, buying treats, and offering words of wisdom. He was a pillar of the community, and truly a man of great integrity. He will be forever remembered by all for his hard work, kindness, and integrity. There will never be another quite like him.
Donald was preceded in death by his parents, Jackson and Juanita Spann; brother, Ken Spann; and daughter, Dawnyelle Partee. He is survived by his loving and devoted wife, Lorraine (nee Equihua) Spann; sons: Donald G. Spann Jr., Denairo Spann, and Dane Spann; siblings: John (Karen) Spann, Linda (Donsero) Reynolds, Craig (Agnes) Spann, Brandon Spann, and Jackson Spann Jr.; 5 grandchildren; Godson, Jontae Scarbrough; special cousins, Bradrick Poats Sr. and Shaeron Buckingham; special friend, Leonard White; and a host of loving aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, in-laws, extended family, and friends.