Al Spradling Jr and III

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that this is Al Spradling, Jr., commonly known around Cape as Senator. Spradling was the youngest person to be elected to the Missouri Senate in 1952, when he was 31. He retired from the Senate in 1977, after a 25-year career. He championed mental health programs and helped pass the state’s open meetings law.

He died in 2004 at 84. The Missourian’s obituary contains some interesting tidbits about Al Spradling Jr. that I didn’t know.

Al Spradling III

Al was in the class of ’65. It was a scary thing when I heard that he was actually Mayor of Cape Girardeau. People you grew up with don’t have any business running towns and the country. There are more photos of Al III (I don’t recall anybody ever calling him that in high school) in some negatives Jim Stone had squirreled away.

Al Spradling III and Andy McLean

I shot this photo of Al Spradling III at some event at SEMO, probably a football game. The fellow with his hand brushing his nose is Andy McLean, the best man at my wedding in 1969. I met Andy, another photographer, at SEMO. We ran around together until I transferred to Ohio University.

Sometime in the 80s, long before Google, the newspaper bought a collection of CD-ROMS that had telephone numbers for everybody in the country on them. Of course, we all spent time in the newspaper morgue (that’s what we called the library before political correctness) looking up old friends and relatives.

When I got a chance, I searched for Andy, who had lived in the St. Louis area.

“May I speak with Andy McLean?”

“Hello,” I said. “May I speak with Andy McLean?”

“He’s dead,” a male voice on the other end of the line said matter-of-factly.

Somewhat taken aback, I stumbled on. “The Andy McLean I’m looking for was the best man at my wedding in 1969. I got a letter saying he had been drafted, then nothing else. Are we talking about the same one.”

“OK, I’m not dead.” Andy McLean fessed up. “You’d be amazed at how that cuts down on telemarketing calls.”

Now that I think of it, that was the last time we talked. I guess I should see if he’s still Not Dead the next time I visit Bro Mark in St. Louis.

10 Replies to “Al Spradling Jr and III”

  1. Ken,
    Pretty short limb, even for a reporter 🙂
    Isn’t that you on far left (uhmmmm) in group photo with macho posses all round?

    1. Lee,

      I hedged because I didn’t want the first comment to be, “That’s not Al Spradling. That’s Joe the Well-Dressed Junkman. He always kept that pipe clamped between his teeth to keep it from falling into the garbage can.”

      And, yes, I AM in the bottom left of the group photo. Notice how all the cool kids have their arms crossed?

      You and Spradling, obviously, didn’t get the memo that the fingers of your right hand were supposed to go on TOP of your left arm. You rebels, you.

  2. This entry brought back a memory I didn’t know I had. As soon as I saw the photo of Andy McLean, I was sure that I had known him, but I wasn’t sure when or where. You said he went to SEMO, so I went to the 1965 Sagamore and discovered that he worked on that yearbook with me. No wonder the face was familiar!

    1. Andy was one of the nicest guys in the world.

      He had every Bill Cosby routine of that era memorized and could do them better than Bill.

      I’ve got some more Andy pix kicking around, including one of him with a big aerial camera included in his “I’ve been drafted” letter. I’ll have to post it when I come across it again.

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