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Death of Edward Spytek, Musician and Director of the Handbell Choir

January 10, 2012

It is with great sadness that we share the news of the death on January 1 of Edward J. Spytek, musician and Director of the Handbell Choir at Garrett-Evangelical.  Mr. Spytek was also the husband of Dr. Lallene Rector, Academic Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

A native of Massachusetts, Mr. Spytek had been performing at the keyboard since age 11, and held a master’s degree in sacred music from Boston University.  He was an active accompanist throughout the Chicago area, performing for professional vocalists, instrumentalists, flute and string studios. Mr. Spytek conducted community “Messiah” sing-along concerts, chamber orchestras for choral works, musical dinner theatre ensembles, as well as adult choirs. In addition to being sought-after as a keyboard recitalist, he was most recently the Music Director for Hemenway United Methodist Church in Evanston, Illinois, and the Director of the Handbell Choir at Garrett-Evangelical.

A memorial service for Mr. Spytek will be held February 11, 2012, Saturday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. in the Chapel of the Unnamed Faithful at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.  A 30 minute "prelude" of music, at 2:30 p.m. will precede the formal beginning of the service at 3:00 p.m.  A reception will follow in Loder Hall.

Rev. Phil Blackwell of the First United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple will be preaching, Rev. Dr. Mark Fowler will be presiding over the Eucharist, and Rev. Dr. Ron Anderson will be in charge of music.

In her email to the Garrett-Evangelical community, Dr. Lallene Rector wrote:

Dear Beloved Members of the Garrett-Evangelical Community,

It is with great sorrow that I inform you of the sudden death of my husband, Edward Spytek.  Some of you will know him through his periodic work over the years in the music program at Garrett-Evangelical and most recently as the Director of the handbell choir.  Edward passed away on New Year's Eve in his sleep.  He was in Connecticut visiting one of his brothers for a couple of weeks to help with some home renovations.   The medical examiner ruled his death from natural causes - probably a massive heart attack.  

I know that Edward rests in the everlasting arms of our good God and I trust he is making his way to a new heavenly organ bench upon which to work his magic.  I give thanks for the gift he has been to me in so many precious and mundane ways for the last 28 years.

Lallene Rector

We offer our prayers of comfort for Dean Rector along with her family, the Spytek family, and a host of friends.  Letters of condolence should be sent to:

Dean Lallene Rector
Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
2121 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60201

Emails of condolence may be sent to

Recognizing Edward Spytek’s many musical gifts and the various ways he shared his gifts with the seminary community over the years, Garrett-Evangelical is establishing the Edward J. Spytek Endowed Music Fund.

If you wish to make a gift to this fund in Edward’s memory make a note on the memo line of your check that it is for the Spytek Endowed Music Fund.  You can also make an online gift at