Herb Sprecher1

b. 20 September 1936, d. 3 December 2018
Herbert A. Sprecher
December 3, 2018
Herbert A. Sprecher
December 3, 2018
Herbert A. Sprecher
December 3, 2018
     Herb Sprecher married Nancy Sprecher. He was born on 20 September 1936. He died on 3 December 2018 at age 82; Herbert Sprecher, 82
Herbert “Herbie” Allen Sprecher, 82, of Hagerstown, MD, passed away Monday, December 3, 2018 at Meritus Medical Center.

Born September 20, 1936, he was the son of the late Charles E. and Daisy (Reel) Sprecher. He was a 1955 graduate of Hagerstown High School.

He was a veteran who served in the U.S. Navy. He was a life member of The Goodwill Athletic Club where he played on their Shuffleboard League; a member of Funkstown Legion Post 211, Williamsport Redmen Lodge 84, Fraternal Order of Eagles #694, Elks Lodge #378, Amvets Post 10 where he was a past Commander, Alsatia Club, Antietam Fire Co. Engine #2, and IAFF Local 1605.

Herbie worked for the City of Hagerstown Fire Department for 35 years, Minnich Funeral Home, and Washington County Court House.

He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Nancy Sprecher; two daughters, Karen Minnich and husband, Steve, of Boonsboro and Linda Foltz and husband, Terry, of Smithsburg; one stepdaughter, Melissa Doyle of Hagerstown; three grandchildren; devoted niece, Debby Stearns; niece, Brenda Higgins; two nephews, James L. Sprecher Jr. and Keith A. Sprecher; and his dog, Teddy Alvin.

In addition to his parents, Herbie was preceded in death by his brother, James L. Sprecher, Sr.

The funeral service will be held at 1 pm on Friday, December 7, 2018 at Minnich Funeral Home, 415 E. Wilson Blvd., Hagerstown, MD. The Rev. Richard G. Hembrock will officiate. Burial will be in Rest Haven Cemetery.

The family will receive friends at the funeral home on Thursday from 5 to 7 pm. Memorial donations may be made to The Humane Society of Washington County, 13011 Maugansville Road, Hagerstown, MD 21740.

Online condolences are accepted at www.minnichfh.com.


  1. All Herbert “Herbie” Sprecher ever wanted to do was be a career firefighter.
    He was 15 or 16 when he started volunteering at the North Potomac Juniors, then went with
    Antietam Fire Co. Engine 2. His dream came true when he was hired.
    “In Hagerstown, that was a big deal, the fire department,” stepdaughter Melissa Doyle of
    Hagerstown said.
    Everyone called him Herbie, but his wife of 50 years, Nancy Sprecher, preferred “Herb.”
    “That was his dream, to be a paid firefighter. That’s all he wanted,” Melissa said.
    “He was happier than a log,” said Nancy, who is Melissa’s mother.
    Herb went on to become the union president. Negotiating for the firefighters’ union was a big part of
    his life.
    Herb’s older brother, James “Jim” L. Sprecher Sr., whom he was very close to, started volunteering
    first. Herb tagged along.
    Jim helped take care of Herb.
    Once out on his own, Herb remained close with his parents, especially his mother. After his father
    died in January 1980, he visited his mother every day.
    All in with the fire department
    “Everything was the fire department. Even the families hung out together,” Melissa said.
    They laughed about Herb’s ability to park a firetruck “on a dime,” but his inability to park his Buick

    Herb was a character in many other ways.
    “You would have remembered him had you met him,” Nancy said.
    Herb’s 35-year career included credit for his military service.
    Besides firefighting, Herb also worked for Minnich Funeral Home and his duties included driving the
    hearse. He also worked security for the circuit court, retiring three years ago.
    Herb liked joking with Melissa when she came to court on Thursdays. She is a licensed certified
    clinical social worker and child welfare supervisor for the Department of Social Services for
    Washington County.
    “He made a big production about using the (security) wand,” Melissa said.
    Herb initially dropped out of high school, but quickly realized he needed a high school diploma to
    become a firefighter and returned to school within six months.
    After graduating from Hagerstown High School in 1955, Herb served in the U.S. Navy for at least
    three years.
    When he returned to Hagerstown, he worked in the drafting department at Pangborn Corp. He took
    night courses in drafting at what was then Hagerstown Junior College.
    Nancy, who lived in Sharpsburg, started working at Pangborn right after high school. As a mother,
    she didn’t socialize at the Colonial Bar & Grill after work with her co-workers.
    Herb talked a coworker of Nancy’s into ensuring Nancy joined the after-work gathering one night.
    “My boss said, ‘You’re gonna love this guy’,” Nancy said, noting that Herb was a prankster.

    Melissa met him for the first time at a picnic and small carnival at Conococheague. Nancy had
    invited him.
    Besides drafting, Herb had the special job of chauffeuring the second-in-command at Pangborn
    around. Herb worked there until he was hired as a paid firefighter, which Melissa believes was in the
    early 1970s.
    Melissa was 5 years old when her parents separated and 7 when they divorced. She was 10 when
    Herb and Nancy got married, a second marriage for both the bride and groom.
    Herb had two daughters from his first marriage. He and Nancy dated for three years, because the
    logistics were complicated.
    He had to live within 10 miles of the fire department he served, and Nancy’s Sharpsburg residence
    was 12 miles away.
    Herb and Nancy were married on April 4, 1968, which fell on Good Friday.
    Once they married, Melissa lived with her grandmother to finish out fourth grade, then moved to the
    Sprechers’ Hagerstown home. Melissa called Herb “Big Daddy.”
    “He more or less raised me,” Melissa said, noting that she grew up in a union household, because
    Herb was union president.
    The marriage had its ups and downs, but they stuck together through it all.
    They enjoyed fire-company events and banquets as a family. Herb and Nancy also loved to dance.
    When they were first married, Herb got off work an hour earlier than Nancy and cooked dinner.
    Herb was a dog lover from an early age; he and Nancy always had a dog. Their first dog was a rat
    terrier-Chihuahua mix who bit Melissa the day they brought her home.

    The succession of dogs, all toy poodles given names by Nancy, were Muffy, Molly, Mandy and
    Theodore Alvin “Teddy,” the only male, who is the current pet.
    “He would kiss the dog and pat Mom on the head,” Melissa joked about Herb.
    One Christmas early in their marriage, the Sprechers were in the market for a washing machine and
    dryer, so Nancy didn’t have to go to the laundromat.
    After a trip to Sears to pick out the appliances, they went into Shockley’s, where a piano was calling
    Nancy, a gifted musician. Her piano teacher wanted her to apply to the Peabody Conservatory,
    Melissa said.
    Nancy came home crying that she wanted a piano and Herb reminded her that they couldn’t afford
    appliances and a piano.
    Two days before Christmas, there was a knock on the door and the piano was delivered with a big
    red bow. For years after that, Nancy walked to the laundromat, but it was a small price to pay for her
    “She played that piano every day until two years ago because of arthritis. That was a real surprise.
    That was my mother’s most cherished possession,” Melissa said.
    “That piano, I couldn’t believe he bought that piano,” Nancy said.
    One of Melissa’s favorite memories of Herb is after they moved into their current house across from
    South Hagerstown High School, a year or two after Herb and Nancy got married.
    Melissa was a student at E. Russell Hicks Middle School, a school were every student was bused.
    She suffered from motion sickness. To be bused to a school within easy walking distance, Melissa
    had to catch the bus at 6 a.m. and ride through town picking up other students, then ride past her

    Janet Heim
    “Big Daddy” met with the school principal, who was adamant that Melissa had to be bused, but Herb
    didn’t leave the school until Melissa had permission to be the school’s only walker.
    “He was the one. School and whatever, he would advocate for me,” Melissa said.
    Nancy had her own health problems this summer and almost died of acute renal failure. After a
    hospitalization, she went to Ravenwood Nursing Home for rehabilitation, a total of about seven
    Melissa said that’s when Herb started declining, and even though he was an excellent cook, she’s
    not sure he was eating.
    Herb was into the sixth year since his dementia diagnosis, yet his death was unexpected.
    Between June and November, he lost 60 pounds. In October, Herb’s doctor referred him to a
    cardiologist because he was having trouble breathing.
    By Thanksgiving, Melissa asked Nancy if they should move his Dec. 17 doctor’s appointment up,
    because he didn’t seem well. Two weeks prior to the appointment, Herb collapsed on the bed and
    said his leg hurt, the result of a blood clot.
    Awaiting surgery, Herb “started crashing,” said Melissa, who asked the medical staff to make him
    comfortable. He’d only been on the hospital’s fourth floor 45 minutes when he died.
    Herb’s funeral reflected his love for the fire department, with firetrucks in the funeral procession from
    the Sprechers’ home to Engine 2’s station. There was also an honor guard, bagpiper and bells
    ringing in his honor.
    “He died with Mom holding his hand,” Melissa said.
    More “A Life Remembered” stories can be found on HeraldMail Media.com and Ekko Forever.com.