Roger Spiller

Christopher Rein's picture

For those who were not aware of Roger Spiller's passing last week:

http://www.leavenworthtimes.com/obituaries/20170818/roger-joseph-spiller

As one of T. Harry Williams' last students at LSU, he was one of the few remaining links to that department's golden age of military history. As I'm sure his many students will attest, Roger was brilliant and demanding, yet collegial and supportive. His military thought and theory course at KU stood as a keystone in that department's graduate program, and he graciously agreed to serve as a committee member for many of us. His feedback was always critical, thorough and, above all, helpful. I am sure I speak for many when I say he will be missed.

Chris Rein

Historian, Combat Studies Institute

Thank you, Chris for letting the rest of us know about Roger's passing. I had the great fortune of being his student many years ago at CGSC. That relationship grew as I earned my spurs and in later years I knew I could call on Roger for advice or an honest opinion at any time. I will miss seeing him at the annual SMH Conference. More than anyone else, he taught me how and why to question the status quo. We will miss him.

Dear Chris,

Thank you passing on this terrible news about Roger's passing. The Leavenworth Times obituary is very well done.

As a doctoral student an the University of Kansas I had many opportunities to talk with Dr. Spiller in and out of the classroom. Accolades about his scholarship are completely appropriate, his work is outstanding. I would like to do what I can to ensure he is remembered also as a remarkable human being.

Roger was one of the most intelligent thoughtful people I have met in my life. As a mentor he was extraordinarily giving. Even late in his career his passion for the complexities of historical scholarship remained clearly evident. He was a military historian, but he was so broadly read and intellectually curious there seemed to be no topic he could not discuss with energy and insight.

Roger never seemed in a hurry, never in a hurry with an ideal or with a conversation. He never seemed distracted. He left me with the feeling that he was always exactly where he most wanted to be every minute of the day. He listened carefully, spoke in a calm quiet way that I and others found infectious. I left every conversation with him feeling more excited about my work and the study of history in general.

Roger was the model of cordiality and thoughtfulness for which the whole of the scholarly community strives. It is a terrible loss.

James Quinn
Missouri Science & Technology History Adjunct