In Memory

Anthony Sparandara

Anthony Sparandara

Anthony D. Sparandara passed away on Tuesday, November 3, 2015 at the age of 67. As a longtime teacher at Lawrence High School and passionate coach of track and field at Lawrence and Lynbrook High Schools Tony impacted generations. As a steadfast friend and colleague and devoted and loving family man he left his mark on many more. He will be missed by all and is survived by his wife Melanie, children TJ (Sara), Jennie (Rob) and Michael (Lauren), and grandchilden Max, Charlie, Jack and Aili as well as his mother Eleanor and brother David (Simona).

go to bottom 
  Post Comment
    Prior Page

11/07/15 08:16 PM #2    

Alisa Yudin (Sherman)

I will always remember Mr. sparandara as one of the BEST; fun and engaging teachers.  

11/07/15 10:29 PM #3    

Moira Meyer (Montanari)

He was a great teacher and my track coach for 3 years. I'm so sad to hear the news. We were talking about him this time last year at the reunion, wondering where he was and what he was doing. I actually payed attention in his class but that may be due to the fact that he was my coach and I needed to be on his good side.

11/08/15 11:30 AM #4    

Sharyn Caronia (Dalone)

He was my favorite teacher, best coach & mentor! Rest in peace Mr Sparandara, you will be missed!! 


11/09/15 03:00 PM #5    

Richard Shapiro

Frank Scoblete

November 7 at 6:37pm

Tony Sparandara is dead.

When I came to the English department of Lawrence High School in Cedarhurst, New York in 1971, Larry O’Neill, Cathy Poe, Lenore Israel, Gabe Uhlar and Tony Sparandara became my friends. I needed them as my previous job had led to my firing. I tend to be an outsider.

I needed friends; I needed people (even people 10 months younger than I, as Tony was) to make me feel welcome. To help me; to encourage me.

Tony did. He had that way about him.

Tony Sparandara was a terrific teacher. Kids loved him. He knew his subject (the first requirement for excellence in teaching) and he could impart it with joy (the second requirement for excellence in teaching). He got along with kids — not the easiest thing to do.

Tony’s former students have extolled his virtues and how much they admire and appreciate him, and there are many such students; an amazing number of them.

His three beautiful children and his wonderful wife Melanie have shared with us his love of family and his teaching and coaching successes. That is what occurs in the summation of a man’s life when he has faced mankind’s greatest adversary — death. Such are wakes and funerals, a time to reflect.

I won’t step on that territory; we who knew him know all about that. I am going to share some singular memories I have of Mr. Anthony Sparandara.

Tony loved sports but (here comes heresy) he was not a gifted athlete. I played basketball in New York City against some greats during my career and I can tell you Tony Sparandara was not a natural athlete. Sorry, that’s true.

Yet he was something special, someone special when he played. Do you know why? He had balls. Sorry if that terminology offends you, but he had balls. I mean the guy worked hard, dug in, did not allow anyone to edge him out.

He had will, as in strong will, as in, “I will demand this of myself so it will become true.” He had sheer, undiluted will power to do the things many of the most gifted athletes failed to accomplish. He made himself a good athlete. He demanded it of himself.

When I was first at Lawrence High School, many of the teachers played basketball against each other on occasions when we could reserve the gym. I was 23-24 years old. Tony was 10 months younger. If we were on opposing teams, he covered me. And when I say “he covered me” I am saying the guy was (for lack of a pretty word) a damn fungus. It was almost impossible to shake him; impossible to get him off. He never left my side. That impressed the hell out of me.

He was relentless on offense too. He could pass, set up plays and encourage his teammates to give their best effort. I would have loved to be on his team when I was in my prime. This was a guy who could make a team gel, a true leader.

I admired him for that. I always wanted Tony Sparandara on my team (actually, HIS team).

He had some disappointments in his coaching career at Lawrence High School. His desire was to take over as the high school basketball coach when the current coach retired. Instead, in a politically correct move before we ever used the term “politically correct,” the job was given to someone else.

A shame. A damn shame. He would have been a great basketball coach.

Instead he turned his coaching attention to track: cross country, girls track and then the varsity boys track team which had been in the doldrums for many years — and I mean a miserable, losing team.

Such a state of the track team did not stop him.

Tony Sparandara was like a bloodhound, sniffing out possible track stars. He’d walk the halls, watch gym classes, analyze what was needed for his team to become not only great on Long Island, but great in all of New York State. Some of his finds are legendary.

Tony Sparandara willed his track teams into existence. He willed the teams and individual players to become the best of the best they could be.

Are there many people who can will their lives and careers to become more than what anyone would think they could become? Yes. Mister Sparandara did it.

I give my love and respect to his wife, his children and his grandchildren. Tony is (yes, “is”) a man to be admired. While death at 67 years old is cruel, his life benefited all of us who knew him.

May he rest in peace.


11/10/15 11:50 AM #6    

Jeff Gross

THAT was a great piece on Mr Sparandara, Mr Scoblete.  Thanks for expanding and expounding.  He was a truly memorable teacher with a very warm persona...the kind of guy that left his mark on you in as positive a way as possible.  Always approachable and ready to impart his good thoughts.

11/10/15 05:02 PM #7    

Deborah Rosen (Shore)

Mr Sparandara inginted a life long passion for language and literature in me. He was always one of my favorite teachers ad even when I moved on to other classes he was the one I went to with my questions.  I am sad for the future students who will not have the benefit of his passion for teaching.  May he rest in peace.  Condolences to his family.

11/11/15 07:40 AM #8    

Howard Cohn

I do not remember Me. Sparandara from my high school years. However, have had the good fortune to have known Mr. Sparandara over the past few years as I cared for his mom.  He was a very warm, and compassionate man who loved his family very much.  He displayed a great deal of humility, and courage while dealing with his illness.  His mom, his wife, his family, were first and foremost in his thoughts, and prayers.  His wife, Melanie, gave everything to make him comfortable in the latter stage of his illness, as well as provide optimal care for their family members.  She was his "rock" of strength.  I convey my sincerest condolences to his wife, Melanie, his mom, Eleanor, his aunt, Antoinette, and the entire Sparandara family.  Tony's zest for life will be missed, but his spirit and the "mark" he left on those whose life he touched, will live on forever.

11/11/15 12:38 PM #9    

Abbe Weinerman (Kalfus)

To this day, everytime I see the book "The Catcher in the Rye", I think of him.  He was so passionate about that book!  

11/12/15 09:11 AM #10    

Ken Levy

I am very sorry to hear about the loss of Anthony Sparandara. Not only was he among the best and certainly most encouraging teachers at Lawrence, he was a great person who  at times was more like a friend than a teacher. I often wondered how he was doing. He built up my confidence in creative writing and offered words of encouragement that I took with me to college and later my career. He took time reviewing my assignments and offered other avenues for the characters I may want to explore. Without question he was my favorite teacher at Lawrence and in my case he definitely made a difference. 

11/28/15 04:51 PM #11    

Robert A. Fitzgerald

Robert A. Fitzgerald

Mr. Sparandara was one of my favorite teachers.  I actually looked forward to going to his class.

He discovered early on that I had a secret talent.  He found out I had an uncanny ability to unscramble words, be  it 6, 8, 10 letters or more.  Upon entering class each day he would put a word on the blackboard to try to stump me.  The "game" or challenge expanded to my classmates, then his other classes, etc.  I usually got the word within 5 - 10 seconds.  He marveled at my gift.  Then it grew to try to get these "3 words in 15 seconds", "5 in 30 seconds", and so on.  Finally, after about 50 or 60 days, he and my classmates stumped me .  I surrended after looking at the word for 1, 2, 5, 10 minutes and the entire time of this class.  The word looked something like this: GADRFILZET .    I was truly baffled, said to my classmates, "did I ever hear of it " am I familiar with it?  Oh, yes they chuckled.  I then gave up as the bell rang.  They got me on my last name!  He never let me forget it.

He was a gifted teacher, a motivator, an inspiration!  I went back to see him a few times after graduation.  He still wanted his classes to try to "get" me.  Told them about my past as "the Jumble King", the "Word Legend". These memories are so fresh in my mind some forty plus years later.

RIP my good friend,  It was a pleasure seeing you in class each day and having a teacher who cared deeply about us all.


Robert A. Fitzgerald


go to top 
  Post Comment
    Prior Page