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Kenneth Christopher Spatz, Jr.

March 25, 1940 September 11, 2023
Kenneth Christopher Spatz, Jr.
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Obituary for Kenneth Christopher Spatz, Jr.

Mr. Kenneth Christopher Spatz, Jr., 83, of Conway, retired professor at Hendrix College, died September 11, 2023 at home of prostate cancer. Born March 25, 1940, in Tyler, Texas, his parents were Kenneth C. Spatz, Sr. and Mary Elizabeth Harton Spatz. His wife of 62 years, Thea Siria Spatz survives as do their three children, Mark Christopher (Deb), Kenneth Siria (Ta-Li) and Ann Spatz Nichols (Rob) and ten grandchildren, Caitlin, Kevin (Emily), Selene, Ian, Zach, Luke, Stephen, Alex, Sam, and Sydney. His brothers, Harton and David, died in 2019 and 2015, respectively.

Raised in Conway and educated at the ASTC Training School, Conway Public Schools, and Hendrix College, Spatz earned a PhD in experimental psychology from Tulane University in 1966. He held postdoctoral research fellowships at University of California, Berkeley and University of Michigan and faculty appointments at The University of the South and University of Arkansas, Monticello. The Spatz family returned to Conway in 1973 and for the next 30 years, he was a faculty member at Hendrix, twice serving as Chair of the Psychology Department.

Spatz was the author of Exploring Statistics: Tales of Distributions, a popular college textbook first published in 1976. In 2015 he and Thea established Outcrop Publishers to revise, publish, and market 11th and 12th editions at student-friendly prices. Spatz also co-authored a textbook on research methods, contributed chapters to edited works, and was a section editor for a statistics encyclopedia. Early in his career he published animal behavior studies.

Religious but not spiritual, Spatz was an active member at First United Methodist Church in Conway. He volunteered at Conway’s Oak Grove Cemetery for many years. An Eagle Scout and a lover of the outdoors, he canoed and camped with family and friends, both nearby (Cadron Creek, Buffalo River) and far away (Canada’s Quetico Provincial Park). Spatz was fond of pranks, stories, and writing. He loved jokes and puns and wrote passable limericks. The 4-foot eyes and goofy mouth on Buhler Hall April 1, 1993, was his doing, with family assistance.

Spatz’s ancestors were Conway pioneers. Two of his great-grandfathers, D. O. Harton, Sr. and Willie Gibbons, were members of the Conway School Board. His wife and many family members have been active in Conway civic affairs.

Memorial services will be held 10:00 am, Saturday, September 16, 2023 at First United Methodist Church, 1610 Prince Street, Conway, AR. Reception and visitation afterwards. 

Gifts to FUMC, UMCOR, Hendrix College, Norbert Schedler Honors College, or Ozark Society in his memory is appreciated.

Services entrusted to Larry G. Acklin Funeral Home, 910 Walnut Street, Conway, AR. "IN YOUR TIME OF NEED...WE CARE."

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