Jean Lafitte “Buddy” Spiller 

Published 5:00 am Thursday, June 27, 2024

Jean Lafitte “Buddy” Spiller Jr., age 89, of Lake Charles, La., passed away on June 25, 2024. Born on Jan. 17, 1935, in Lake Charles, he was the son of Jean and Caroline Spiller. He was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Mary Ellen Robert, and son-in-law, Bernard McLaughlin. 

Buddy graduated from Lake Charles High School in 1955 and cherished the longtime and close friendships with his classmates. Through the years, he enjoyed their many reunions and recounting stories of their time as Wildcats. Buddy attended McNeese State University and proudly served our country in the U.S. Army National Guard, in which he was recognized for his leadership and expert marksmanship.

He was a longtime real estate broker and land developer, but would fully immerse himself, learning everything he could about any subject that piqued his interest and curiosity. Anyone acquainted with him knew that he considered himself an expert in many subjects.

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Buddy’s mother frequently shared stories of him playing cowboys and indians as a child. He never outgrew wanting to be a cowboy, which led to his involvement with the Lake Charles Gun Club and the Single Action Shooting Society. As his “cowboy shooting” alter-ego, Ed Sieker, Texas Ranger, he won numerous regional, national, and international shooting competitions. One of his proudest moments was recognition by the Texas Rangers as an honorary member, badge, and all. 

He balanced his “cowboy side” with his interest, love and skill of flintknapping, the ancient art of making stone tools used by Native Americans. He learned all that he could from old timers in the Southwestern United States and became so proficient and knowledgeable that he was a regular lecturer at many archaeological association meetings and universities across the country. He took great pride in his extensive personal collection of Native American artifacts. 

Buddy was a member of the Masonic Lodge #165, Ducks Unlimited, the Lake Charles Archery Club and Kiwanis Club. He was a member of the Church of the Good Shepherd and enjoyed the fellowship at the weekly men’s breakfast. He was a member of the Krewe of Contraband, and proudly presented each of his daughters as princesses. Buddy loved an adventure. Whether bear hunting in Canada, moose hunting in Alaska or the annual “big vacations” with his wife and daughters, he always looked forward to new experiences. He took great pride in his family, ensuring that his three daughters received the best education and practical skills to carry them through life and follow their dreams as strong women. 

Although he was known to most as “Buddy,” many were unaware of his unique given name or its origin. His great-grandfather, Jeremiah Spiller, fought in the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812. Jeremiah believed that the outcome of the battle would not have been possible without the participation of Jean Lafitte and his band of Baratarians. He often shared stories about the battle with his son, Buddy’s grandfather, which inspired him to name his own son after this historical figure. Buddy’s father wanted his son to carry his name forward, but his mother had other ideas about what her son should be named. She lost that argument but was grateful that the neighbors dubbed him their “buddy.” 

He is survived by his loving wife of 58 years, Sarah Jordan Spiller; daughters, Elizabeth McLaughlin and Susan Latil of Lake Charles, and Sally Spiller of Irving, Texas; grandchildren, Ellen Latil Paris (Marshall), Christopher Latil, Connor McLaughlin, and Stratton McLaughlin; and great-grandchildren, Adam, and Lily Paris.

A service to celebrate Buddy’s life will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, June 28, 2024, at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Lake Charles with visitation prior to the service from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Johnson Funeral Home in Lake Charles is assisting with the arrangements.

The family wishes to thank the staff at Westwood Manor in DeRidder and Harbor Hospice in Lake Charles, who tenderly assisted with his care during the final chapter of his life. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Harbor Hospice Foundation at P.O. Box 20463, Beaumont, TX 77720 or the Church of the Good Shepherd Discretionary Fund at 715 Kirkman Street, Lake Charles, La. 70601.

Words of comfort to the family may be expressed at www.johnsonfuneral