Ray Speitel, 63 former law officer, athlete : Newspaper Obituary and Death Notice
San Diego Union-Tribune, The (CA) - Wednesday, March 25, 1998
Deceased Name: Ray Speitel, 63 former law officer, athlete
The "30" on Ray Speitel's well-worn football jersey often was streaked with mud and grass stains. The longer he played center and linebacker, the more soiled it would become.
And the more he played with his characteristic abandon, the more he endeared himself to Chula Vista High School loyalists.
"They called him 'Dirty 30,' " remembered Dolores Speitel, the high school sweetheart who became his wife.
Eventually, Mr. Speitel traded the football jerseys he wore at Chula Vista High, San Diego City College and the University of San Diego for a law enforcement badge.
Mr. Speitel, who served at various times as a San Diego police officer and San Diego County deputy sheriff, died of liver disease March 11 in a nursing center in Santee. He was 63.
Mr. Speitel resigned in 1982 after nearly 13 years with the county Sheriff's Department and worked a few years as a private security officer before retiring because of failing health.
As a deputy sheriff, he often patrolled the East County backcountry and taught off-road motorcycle safety.
"He and a partner would drive up in their motorcycles to our kids' ball games, and kids would come out of the stands and greet them," Dolores Speitel said. "He was very easy to talk to and nonjudgmental. He gave a lot of direction to youngsters, and they loved him."
Born in Pensacola, Fla., Mr. Speitel settled with his family in Chula Vista at age 14. Two years later, he joined the National Guard by falsifying his age, his wife said.
Mr. Speitel excelled in football at Chula Vista High, earning all-Metropolitan League and defensive player of the year honors. He captained the USD Toreros football team in 1956 before being drafted into the Army.
During two years of active duty, he competed on the Army pistol team, developing a skill that later became a hobby.
Mr. Speitel joined the San Diego Police Department in 1958. He served as a patrolman and taught defense tactics before leaving the department in 1967.
Mr. Speitel worked two years as a newspaper circulation manager. But law enforcement remained in his blood.
In his early 30s, he joined the county Sheriff's Department, a job that enabled him to indulge another favorite activity, motorcycle riding.
In 1966, Mr. Speitel moved to a remote area of El Cajon, with ample trails for motorcycling. He lived there until his death.
In addition to his wife of 41 years, he is survived by a daughter, Karla Speitel of El Cajon; two sons, Steve of Springdale, Ark., and Vincent of Pacific Beach; his mother, Dena Seale of Chula Vista; and two grandchildren.
Services were March 16 at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, El Cajon.