Charles Spilman

Charles Spilman
Charles Spilman
Guard, Forward
Hometown (Last School)
Harrodsburg (Lexington High)
October 1, 1898

Charles Spilman was born Charles Merritt Spilman on October 1, 1898, in Harrodsburg, Kentucky to Mary Brewer Van Arsdale and Benjamin F. Spilman.  He attended schools in Harrodsburg and at Lexington High School (the forerunner of Henry Clay High), and enlisted in the Navy in 1917, serving 23 months.

At a meeting of the Senior High School faculty on Monday, May 24, 1920, the Yale Cup was awarded to Spilman. The Yale Alumni Association of Kentucky, through Mr. Ballard Thurston of Louisville, had for a number of years given a silver cup to the Lexington High School to be won by the student who stands highest in academic work, athletics, and good character.  In 1920, there were ten competitors for the cup. Both faculty and students were thoroughly pleased with the announcement as Mr. Charles Spilman was considered one of the strongest and best students in Lexington High. During the war, he was in the service of his country for 23 months. At the close of his service, he came back to school and resumed work with more earnestness than ever and made his four years course in three. He was popular with both faculty and students and the entire school offers him hearty congratulations.

Following that tour of military service, he attended the University of Kentucky where he was captain of the tennis team and played varsity basketball.  He was also an officer with the university’s tennis club, a member of the Mystic “13” fraternity, a member of the Delta Chi fraternity, and a member of Scabbard and Blade.  He graduated on June 2, 1924, with a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering and a second lieutenant’s commission in the Army.

On April 21, 1923, while in college, he married Frances Stahel of Versailles in Paris, Kentucky.  They had two children, William and Susan Frances.

In the three years immediately after graduating from college, Col. Spilman was employed by the General Electric Co. in Schenectady, N.Y., and then in Cincinnati, Ohio, until 1934. The Spilman’s moved to Versailles in 1934 and in that year, as a Reserve captain, he was called to active duty in the CCC, serving in Nevada and California.

Upon his return to civilian life, he was engaged in business in Lexington in 1937 and 1938. In 1939, as this country moved closer to entry into World War II, he was recalled to active service and was stationed at Fort Knox with Gen. Patton’s 3rd Armored Division.

Col. Spilman was later assigned to Gen. MacArthur’s staff as special services officer, going overseas in April 1942 and serving in Australia, Hollandia, and New Guinea.

From 1944 to 1946 he was special services officer at Governor’s Island, New York, for the Eastern Defense Command.

He went on inactive duty in 1946 and was associated with General Telephone until his retirement as a full colonel in the Reserves.

He passed away on November 21, 1970, after a short illness. He was 72.

Charles Spilman