|This article does not cite any sources. (December 2009)|
He was born November 9, 1908, one of nine children of parents who came to the United States in 1903 from Croatia.
In order to help with family expenses, Spudich worked nights and summers in a coal mine while attending high school in Benld, Illinois, and was graduated in 1929. He was a graduate of McKendree College, Lebanon, Illinois, in 1933, where he was named to the United Press International All-Star Football Team in 1932, and was All State fullback in 1931 and 1932. Moreover, he played professional football for the St. Louis Gunners, the Tulsa Oilers, and the Chicago Cardinals.
Spudich taught English and served as assistant principal. He was a soft-spoken man and had the respect and admiration of his students. Mr. Spudich always had time to help students, even if it was at the expense of his own plans. He was a very patient and kind man. He was also not only considered the High School's strongest man, his arms filling out his suit jackets, but was also considered the best dressed male teacher. Joe, as he was known to his students, would also plan field trips, such as taking them to Chicago to see such plays as Camelot, starring Richard Burton. He also assigned then contemporary books such as Patterns, by Rod Serling, as well as classics, such as Shakespeare's, Julius Caesar. After retiring at Freeport High School in 1964, he taught English and was chairman of the Humanities Division at Highland College, also in Freeport, Illinois.
Mr. Spudich served on the Freeport Library Board, was a Freeport City Alderman, coached the Frogs Girls Softball Team, played slow pitch softball in his 1970s, helped move a log cabin to the Stephenson County Historical Society grounds in Freeport, and did all the stonework on his own house plus a lot of stonework for others. If Joe knew that his stonework for some people was unaffordable, he did it free of cost.
Near the end of his life, Mr. Spudich was disheartened over seeing American high schools' over reaction for security, e.g., the use of police and police dogs monitoring the students and premises. He said that, "Many American high schools were losing their status as institutions of education and were taking on more a prison type atmosphere." Moreover, he also feared this same over reaction for security could eventually be adopted by the government at the cost of individual liberty. It appears that Mr. Spudich was a true visionary.