In Memory

Lafayette L "Skippy" Spruill

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05/09/15 04:03 PM #1    

Billy Mac Brown

Lafayette Skippy Spruill was an intimidating figure in high school.  I first met him when were in grade school.  I was at Cameron and Skippy was at Burleson.  We were about to play each other in football.  I was playing right guard and our coach, Coach Cliff Owen (later taught at Permian) told me just to get in his way.  He was already known for the exploits even then.  I don't how, but we beat his team 8-0, but he beat me to death, I guess I managed to just get in his way enough.  Our team at Cameron went went unbeaten and we were not scored on until the last game of our schedule and we still won 42-12.  None of the guys on the Cameron team played high school football.  Our quarterback was Bobby Reed, half backs Les Davis and Lane Cavin and fullback, Bobby Redman.  Others on the team were Glen Waters, Ronnie Zorn, Eric Eubanks, Robert Harris, Phil Rutedge (graduated from Permian) and Harry Weatherspoon (graduated from Andrews and ran track and also later at OC). 

Skippy went to Bowie and starred on the 7th grade team and then to Hood for the 8th grade (Hood opened that year) and then he returned to Bowie for the 9th.  At OHS he was a three year letterman, was All District, All State and All American his senior year. 

As gifted as Skippy was, he just did just enough academically to keep his eligibility..  I remember our senior year, I was lab assistant for Mr. Gunn in Chemistry and Skippy was in that class.  He threatened me every which way to let him know what his "Unknown" was.  As much as Skippy could be intimidating, I was more afraid of what Mr. Gunn would do if I was caught, so I kept putting him off and I never gave in.  I don't know how, but he came up with his "Unknown," much to my relief.  He probably got it with the help of some other student.

After high school, Skippy went to the University of Houston with a full ride, but in the middle of football season his sophomore year, Skippy walked off and returned to Odessa.  He played pro in Canada with Toronto and Calgary and then with the Odessa Roughnecks in 1969.  He had a try-out with the Chargers, but blew his knee out.  

With football gone, Skippy worked at Curry Freight, Bobby Cox Companies as a Warehouse Supervisor and then went on the skids.  He had a series of bad marriages and finally got his life somewhat together in Abilene.  He checked himself into rehab and then got involved in AA.  He married and began to drive a school bus and did so for a few years.  He began to experience heart difficulties and went to San Antonio to have surgery.  He died in the recovery room on January 29, 2008.


05/28/15 02:23 PM #2    

Glenn Wood

I too knew Skippy Spruill from Burleson Elementary, Hood Jr. High and then OHS. He was very intimidating but we were friends so I was never afraid of this big guy. I only played football one year in Burleson but he was destined for more. I spoke to a friend of mine a few months ago, Fred Akers, UT football coach, and he was saddened to hear that Skippy had died. Those that knew Skippy knew he was a good guy.


Glenn Wood

08/02/15 06:50 PM #3    

Grace Burks (Kerr)

I hate to read that Skippy had died and had problems. I liked him a lot. Always wanted to date him. He always teased me unmericifully and had such a wonderful and beautiful smile. He sure loved to make me blush! The rascal! I loved to see him play football. He was very good at it, he and Jack Green were a pair! God speed Skippy! broken heart

07/30/16 11:17 AM #4    

Kenneth Joe Phillips

I met Skippy in the 6th grade at Burleson Elementry. It was the first year that Burleson opened. We both played on the football team, but Gerried Bowen,David Grimes,Millard Smallwood and several other neighborhood friends played football year round on the dirt road by our houses till the ball would hit you in the face because it was so dark you could not see it when thrown to you.

Skippy had a rough childhood and I guess that is why he himself was rough on the outside but if you knew him he was actually a intervert. He was hard to really know but if you were his friend he was your friend for life.

We went to Hood Jr. High, Bowie Junior High and Odessa High. I went to Big Spring and played my senior year of football there. When we stepped out on the field they enormous in size. The line for OHS that year was adverse of 250 lbs and there back field averaged 200lbs. For a high school team at that time was unheard of. Big Spring adverage was 185lbs. Some how we beat them that year, but they went on to the State Play Offs. 

We drifted apart after high school, I went in the service and Vietnam. After I got out of the service I moved back to Odessa and ran into Skip at a class reunion don't rember what year, but Larry Gatling came and sang.  We played golf the next day and I guess it had to be 8 or 9 years till I saw him again. He was in bad mental state in my opinion, gone was the Skip I knew. There was something missing, I found out later it was his addictions. I am glad to know he was good when he passed on. I am privileged to have known him.

Skip had a God given talent for football,but he just could never grasp the golden ring that would tell him he was unique. 

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