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Gramercy police chief dies

By Leonard Gray / L’Observateur / January 14, 1998

GRAMERCY – Chief of Police Carl Spizale Sr., 56, died Sunday following amassive stroke while cutting down a tree. He served as chief since takingoffice in 1991 and was preparing to run for his third term in October atthe time of his death.

Instead, Chief Deputy Clayton DeSlatte is interim chief.

Survivors include his wife, Thelma Sutton Spizale, and his children, CarlJr. and Donna Spizale, Maria Martinex, Theresa McClung, Beverly Wright andLori Bourgeois. He is also survived by four grandchildren.

Spizale, a native and lifelong resident of Gramercy and a 1959 graduate ofLutcher High School, worked as a mechanic at Faucheux Chevrolet inGramercy but wanted a career in law enforcement. He became a part-timeauxiliary deputy in 1965 during Hurricane Betsy.

He took his first law enforcement training in 1967 at the LSU PoliceAcademy and joined the Gramercy Police Department full time in 1981 asdeputy chief.

Along the way, he ran the Sportsman’s Den from 1977 to 1985 and tookoffice as chief of police in early 1991. He was re-elected in 1994 with 72percent of the vote and was preparing to campaign for another term, withthe election set this fall.

Spizale made it his mission to clean up Gramercy, clearing vacant lots oftrash and debris and inspiring beautification efforts. These efforts earnedhim the Wal-Mart Hometown Leadership Award in October 1996.

With Gramercy’s town motto being, “The best little town for milesaround,” Spizale felt he had to lead the way in living up to it.He commented in a November 1997 interview with L’Observateur, “It’s myduty to uphold that image. We’ve got a pretty good town here.”

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