Richard “Rick” Edwin Spatz, Jr.

Richard “Rick” Edwin Spatz Jr., 71, of Williamsburg, Virginia, passed away Sunday, July 2, 2023, after a six-month battle with cancer.

A celebration of life service will be held at William & Mary’s Raymond A. Mason School of Business (101 Ukrop Way, Williamsburg, VA 23186) in the Brinkley Commons Room on the second floor. The celebration will take place on Saturday, July 15, 2023, 3-5pm. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to a charity close to Rick’s heart: Virginia Peninsula Foodbank or Doctors Without Borders USA Inc.

Born on January 30, 1952, in Pittsburgh, PA, Rick went on to complete his Bachelors at College of Wooster in Ohio and his Masters in Russian History and Business Administration at the University of Chicago. From there, Rick went on to a rich career in Advertising, a field which played to both his immense creativity and his charismatic personality and wit, as he worked with clients from candy moguls to dog food producers. Rick later took a lead role in expanding his clients’ businesses in first the European arena, with years spent living in Brussels, Belgium and The Hague, The Netherlands, and then in Asia, with 5 years spent living in Singapore. Rick’s great appreciation for different cultures and exploring new environments made him a perfect fit for these complex roles.

After retiring to Williamsburg, Virginia in 2004, Rick quickly found a new passion working as an Executive Partner with William and Mary’s Mason School of Business. Through his teaching and extensive mentorship of many students throughout the years, Rick influenced the lives of many, always believing in helping others to become their very best selves. Rick passionately believed women deserved an equal seat at the table as they went forth in the business world and he dedicated much of his mentorship energy to promoting their success.

Rick was born to Richard E. Spatz and Jeanne A. McFarland Spatz. He was the eldest of four brothers, including John, Jeffery, and James. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, John. He is survived by his wife, Laura, and his children, Erin (Chris) Duck; John (Jessica) Spatz; Kristen (Mike) Bentley; and Erik (Megan) Spatz. He was also the proud grandfather of Kayla, Sebastian, and Rowan Duck; Alex and Logan Spatz; and Connor and Cassidy Bentley. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews on both his and his wife’s sides of the family.

An incredible mind, a sparkling wit, and a man with a great appreciation for a wide variety of seemingly contradictory interests, Rick loved great musicals as much as he loved professional wrestling. He read every book on the history of Napoleon, but also got starry-eyed when he spoke of dragons, broadswords, and fairytale kingdoms. Rick watched the Guns of Navarone on repeat, but also equally valued the hilarity of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. In short, he was fascinating and fun. Rick would not have wanted us to spend too much time lauding him in his absence and yet over the course of his six-month battle with cancer, the number of letters, calls, and texts that came in outlining how many lives he changed for the better demonstrated a life of service, charity, and belief in raising others up to achieve their very best. He was a loving father, a cherished spouse, a powerful ally at work and in friendship, a mentor and a man who left those who spent time in his presence with the feeling that they had been introduced to someone very special.

May he now sail through the skies on the back of one of the dragons he so loved, one with the universe, and as he so often marveled, its unfathomable vastness. Now we hope he becomes a part of that vastness in a way that makes his spirit smile.

Arrangements are under the care of Peninsula Funeral Home, 11444 Warwick Blvd., Newport News, VA 23601.


  1. Chaplain Marie Boyd

    Rick was a Special Human Being who cared about all human beings.. He will be missed….My Thoughts are with his beautiful Laura and his family.♥️

  2. Jane & Tom Rebholz

    Rick was an amazing man. Fun, creative & smart with a wonder sense of humor. Thankful for the times we enjoyed with him in Des Peres and a great stay in Williamsburg. My heart goes out to you Laura and your family. 💙

  3. Kayla Duck

    I love you grandpa ❤️❤️ You were witty, kind, and so funny. You spent so much of your life helping others, and doing good deeds. I miss you so much.

  4. Randy Cortese

    I wish I could have known him better but he treated me as if he knew me forever, very kind, generous person…my heart goes out to his entire family❤❤💔

  5. Marcia Wright

    My eyes brimmed with tears as I read the remarkable (and exquisitely written) story of Rick’s all too short life. I send my deepest and most profound sympathy to all of Rick’s loved ones – especially Laura. Holding you in prayer for comfort and peace knowing he hurts no longer. Draw from the treasured memories you’ve made together.❤️

  6. Jim Olver

    Rick has been a great friend, confidant, mentor, jokester, co-conspirator… I will miss him terribly. Laura and family, Judy and my prayers go out to you and your family.

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