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Alfred Carl Spuck, Jr., 64, passed away on November 22, 2018, to be reunited with his loving mother and father who predeceased him. Alfred was born, January 9, 1954, here in West Palm Beach, to Al and Sylvia Spuck. Alfred was born with Downs Syndrome and was able to overcome the many challenges presented. At his birth, his parents were encouraged to institutionalize him, his mother vigorously said ‘Never’, and Alfred enjoyed a long life of love, learning and encouragement.
Alfred, as a child, was fortunate to have a big brother, David, to learn from, as their father, Al, passed away when Alfred was about 2 years old.
Alfred loved scouts, played soccer, was a star bowler, cheered for the Miami Dolphins, and loved dancing at the then Gateway Club in West Palm Beach. He always enjoyed his weekly special hamburger, which to him was the ultimate treat!
Alfred attended the then Royal Palm School in West Palm Beach, that was there for the young special needs individuals, as back then mainstreaming was not as advanced as today. Alfred’s mother, Sylvia, dedicated her life to having Alfred being as engaged as possible and his full potential was clearly seen by all who interacted with him and his challenges.
Sylvia, along with a handful of other caring parents saw the need and through much hard work, and community support they formed the Palm Beach Habilitation Center (PBHC), in Lake Worth, Florida. The County, and community organizations support helped build the Center’s structures, and poured caring and guidance into PBHC since 1959.
Alfred worked in the sheltered PBHC workshop for countless years and then with his advanced age he went into the worthy STARS program for seniors. People in the beginning said he would never be able to tie his own shoes. Well he learned how to! He learned to take the bus from PBHC all the way to 25th Street in West Palm Beach where his mother worked for the successful PBHC Resale Store, where we met and became involved. We remember Alfred coming to our wedding over 47 years ago. His mother was so “hands on”, Alfred could go anywhere, the would stop at our home every Saturday after bowling. He joyfully collected ribbon after ribbon, trophy after trophy for participating in the wonderful special Olympics Games. We would spend holidays together and play ‘pokeno’ at their dining room table, and blowing out many birthday candles at our home.
As Alfred advanced in age, he like his mother developed Alzheimer’s, and the disease gradually took from them both their memory and some abilities. Living at home, until his mother was unable to care for him he then went into a Group home (JB’s Ranch), where many of his friends were. At his Group Home one finds a terrific, unique family of brothers. We give a huge, special Thank You to the caring, attentive staff of PBHC, JB’s Ranch and The STARS staff.
Alfred’s mother, Sylvia, passed away at age 98, and we as family friends became Alfred’s guardians. It has been so wonderful, as we feel we were the lucky ones who got to experience being with Alfred, such a smiling, happy soul for so many delightful years of memories.
In lieu of flowers, we would invite anyone who has interacted with Alfred or is familiar with PBHC to consider making a donation to the ‘Memory Care Home’ that PBHC is building. A home which if Alfred had lived on he would have gone into. Any donation Alfred’s name would be so appreciated by the Palm Beach Habilitation Center (PBHC), 4522 So. Congress Ave., Lake Worth, Florida 33461, sent to the attention of David Lin, CEO of PBHC. All will help make this much needed home become a reality for the special needs clients, that as Alfred, develop alzheimer’s.
Alfred’s mother had pre-planned her private service for herself and for Alfred and he will be buried with her and his father at Hillcrest Memorial Park, West Palm Beach.
Thank you Alfred for all the joy you brought to so many, and for proving that with much loved and nurturing, the Downs Syndrome population do lead very productive, happy lives…. With much love, his guardians, Lila and Jim Young, Alfred’s brother, David Spuck and wife Carol, along with many nieces, nephews, and wonderful friends.