Emile Spano, a longtime chief deputy Ascension Parish assessor and Donaldsonville councilman known for his meticulous attention to detail and dogged constituent service, died Sunday night at home, family and colleagues said Tuesday.
He was 68.
Known for his keen record-keeping ability, passion for solving problems and natural ease with people, Spano was remembered as a man for the people of Donaldsonville, the place where he was born, reared, lived and died.
“Emile was a councilman that had a lot of love and compassion for the people in his district and the city as well,” Mayor Leroy Sullivan said Tuesday.
Spano, who died in his sleep Sunday night, had heart trouble in the past, his wife Mary Spano said.
Earlier that night, he had been at a fundraiser to restore the historic St. Vincent’s convent at Ascension Catholic School.
“He was constantly involved in what was going on with the community,” Councilman Raymond Aucoin said.
Spano was on the City Council a little more than nine years and took the seat in March 2007 as a temporary appointment for deceased Councilman Guy Poche at Poche’s recommendation before his death.
Spano later won a 2007 special election to fill Poche’s term and then won two more terms to the District 5 seat, running once unopposed. Mary Spano said he was planning another run this fall because he had not found someone to take his place.
“His district was his district,” she said.
Emile Spano worked at a chemical plant in Donaldsonville and sold insurance in the 1970s but became former longtime Assessor Gerald McCrory Jr.’s chief deputy in 1980. Spano worked for him for 23 years until McCrory’s retirement Jan. 31, 2003.
Spano served as acting assessor for nearly a year but lost a special primary election in October 2003 to replace McCrory.
Remarking on his eye for detail, Mary Spano said her husband left her a comprehensive, typewriter-created list about what to do after his death that had been sitting for years in a safe.
“My kids told me that he was talking to me from the grave,” she said. “It’s unreal.”
He is survived by his wife, three adult children and seven grandchildren.