The name of First Deputy Police Commissioner Charles E. Spahr’s was in the papers, on the news and engraved on the Nassau County police badge.
But family members said his wife, Evelyn Spahr, worked just as hard as he did, making sure her husband and children achieved as much as she thought they were capable of.
“She was a huge supporter. He started with police department in 1946,” said son, Stephen Spahr, 62, of Lonaconing, Maryland. “She always felt like she was on the job, too.”
After a lifetime of supporting her family, Evelyn died April 23 after a brief illness at Hospice House of Cumberland County in Crossville, Tennessee. She was 89.
Evelyn Spahr was born Nov. 3, 1926, in Astoria, Queens, the third of six children. Growing up, she spent much of her time devoted to her church, where she met her husband. At a church event on the Upper East Side, an 18-year-old Charles was taken with Evelyn, who was 14 at the time, Stephen Spahr said.
The couple remained in touch through World War II and married when Charles returned from Germany in 1946. When he joined the Nassau County police, she became a sort of unofficial enlistee, too, as he went on to hold nearly every sworn rank until he retired 45 years later.
“Dad had the more colorful life, but she was a big part of what motivated him,” Stephen Spahr said.
Evelyn and Charles raised Stephen and their other son, Laurence, in a home in Massapequa Park.
Evelyn liked to educate herself, in the absence of a college degree. She was a “voracious” reader, Stephen said, and loved visiting the 1964 World’s Fair when it came. Each Easter, she took her sons to the theater in Manhattan, said Laurence Spahr, 65, of Crossville.
Evelyn wanted the best for her sons — “She was very big on us getting the education she couldn’t get,” Stephen said.
Laurence said he credits his mother’s support for his and his brother’s academic successes. Both not only received college degrees, but also went on to law school.
“She made my brother and I pretty accomplished people,” he said. “I was an Eagle Scout and I kind of followed in my Dad’s footsteps, and she was the force behind that.”
Charles Spahr died in 1993. Evelyn preserved his memory on Long Island with a scholarship through the Detectives Association and was an active supporter of police until moving to Tennessee in 2006.
Evelyn also is survived by four grandsons and two great-granddaughters.
A memorial service was held Wednesday at Good Samaritan Chapel in Crossville. A funeral will be held in September in Massapequa, and she will be buried next to her late husband at Grace Church Cemetery there.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Hospice House of Cumberland County, 30 E. Adams St., Crossville, TN 38555, or the Good Samaritan Society of Fairfield Glade, 100 Samaritan Way, Crossville, TN 38558.