Gail W. Springer, a former music teacher who assisted her husband in his Foreign Service career, died Feb. 13 of complications from vascular disease at her Roland Park Place home. She was 85.
The former Gail Wellensiek, daughter of Hermann G. Wellensiek, lawyer, banker and state senator, and his wife, Blanche Swartwood Wellensiek, a schoolteacher and homemaker, was born and raised in Grand Island, Nebraska, where she graduated from Grand Island High School.
After receiving a bachelor’s degree in music education in 1955 from the University of Nebraska, where she had been a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, Mrs. Springer taught music for two years in an elementary school in Sidney, Nebraska.
She subsequently attended Northwestern University, where she obtained a master’s degree in music and vocal performance in 1958, and was a member of Pi Kappa Lambda, a national music honor society. From 1958 to 1961, she was a music coordinator for the Hinsdale, Illinois, public elementary schools.
In 1961, she married Richard L. Springer, a Foreign Service officer, whom she met in the courtyard of Hull House, the Jane Addams settlement house in Chicago. After their marriage, the couple settled in Washington when her husband was assigned to the office of Secretary of State.
Mrs. Springer accompanied her husband in 1963 to Florence, Italy, where he served as deputy principal officer in the U.S. consulate. There, he oversaw U.S. interests in Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna and the Republic of San Marino, and she was engaged in the protocol duties of a spouse of a diplomat.
In 1966, the Springers were posted to Barcelona, Spain, where Mr. Springer became commercial consul at the U.S. consulate and Mrs. Springer assumed the task of entertaining American and Spanish businessmen.
After returning to Washington in 1969, he was assigned in 1971 to the State Department’s Office of International Organization Affairs, and during that six-year stint, Mrs. Springer was an active member of Foundry Methodist Church, where she sang in its choir.
Subsequent postings took them to Geneva, where Mrs. Springer, in addition to raising two sons, continued her musical activities. She sang in the La Psallette de Genève, a choir that often performed with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and the choir of Emmanuel Episcopal Church.
After Mr. Springer retired from the Foreign Service in 1980, he became a campus director and professor at Webster University in Webster Grove, Missouri. When he resigned as campus director in 1991, the couple moved to a condominium in Verbier, Switzerland, an Alpine ski resort. During their years in Verbier, Mrs. Springer volunteered with the Verbier Festival, a summer music festival.
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Mr. Springer retired in 1995 and after several years living in Perrysburg, Ohio, they moved in 2001 to Berkeley House in Tuscany-Canterbury. Since 2010, they have lived at Roland Park Place.
She was active with Kappa Kappa Gamma Alumni Association and the PEO sisterhood, often hosting student members of the Johns Hopkins University chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, where her husband had served as president of the alumni board from 2006 to 2011.
Mrs. Springer was a communicant of the Episcopal Cathedral Church of the Incarnation, 4 East University Parkway, Baltimore, where a memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. March 28.
In addition to her husband of 59 years, Mrs. Springer is survived by two sons, Jeffery A. Springer of Baltimore and David L. Springer of Pittsburgh; a brother, Karl Wellensiek of Madison, Wisconsin; and four grandchildren.