On November 9, longtime Palisades resident Arthur “Art” Thomas Spring, 84, passed away from complications related to Alzheimer’s disease. Born on June 26, 1935, in San Francisco, Art was the only child of Admiral Arthur Finn Spring and Clare Murphy Spring. His childhood was spent in and around naval bases in San Francisco, Cuba and Honolulu, where he witnessed the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
After attending Punahou in Honolulu, Art entered the United States Naval Academy, graduating in 1957. It was during his time in submarine school in New London that he met his wife of 60 years, Diane Endres, who was a student just across the Thames River at Connecticut College. Appropriately, they met in the spring of 1959 and were married by the fall.
In the Navy, Art served most notably as chief engineer on the USS Sculpin where he carried out numerous missions, primarily in the Pacific. Art left the Navy in 1965 and joined Host International as a management trainee.
Talented and indefatigable, his rise within the company was rapid, and at the age of 35, he was elevated to Vice President of Worldwide Operations. Within three years he was again promoted to run Business Development, where he found his career calling. The creative and political complexities of the job were a perfect match for his superior intellect, drive and leadership.
For the next 30 years Art was responsible for winning the airport concession contracts that would define both the company and the entire industry. He was frequently referred to as a “legend,” not only for his astonishing track record of contract wins, but also for the countless individuals he thoughtfully mentored, many of whom went on to lead major companies.
His work took him to every corner of the world, and he planted the Host Marriott flag throughout airports first in the United States and then in Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, China and the Netherlands.
In his personal time and throughout his retirement, Art volunteered at the Southern California Counseling Center, eventually becoming the chairman of their board, and also held various board positions at one of his favorite places to spend time, the Bel Air Bay Club.
Art also loved spending time playing golf, especially in Hawaii, a place he always held close to his heart. To play a round with Art was always an exercise in losing a few dollars and hearing more than a few of his signature “one liners.”
Art will be remembered for his love of the U.S. Navy, his breadth of professional accomplishments and his wickedly sharp sense of humor. But above all, he will be remembered for the love he had for the woman he always called his “bride,” Diane, and the family they created together.
Art is survived by wife Diane, their five children, Arthur, Sara, Amy, Matthew and Jenny, and 12 grandchildren. The Spring family graciously asks that in lieu of flowers, anyone wishing to commemorate Art, please make a contribution to: Southern California Counseling Center, 5615 W Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90019; 323-937-1344; sccc-la.org.
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