Roger D. Spitzmiller

Roger D. Spitzmiller

Roger D. Spitzmiller

March 12, 1949~August 27, 2021

Roger Dean Spitzmiller died peacefully of natural causes on August 27, 2021 at Broward Health Center, Fort Lauderdale. He was born March 12, 1949 in Cincinnati, Ohio, the second of five children of Alton and Audrey (Hartman) Spitzmiller, who predeceased him. He graduated from Anderson High School in Cincinnati in 1967, studied at Miami University of Ohio and earned an Associate of Science degree at Broward Community College. He lived in Wilton Manors, Florida since 1971. In January 2012 he married Damari Medina-Benavides, originally from Colombia, who loved and cared for him in sickness and health.

In addition to his wife, he leaves siblings Joyce Magee (Tim) of Oakland Park, Florida; Rebecca Spitzmiller (Gianni Caracci) of Rome, Italy; Jeffrey Spitzmiller of Fort Lauderdale; Amy Banov (Robert) of Vero Beach, Florida; stepson Luis Alberto Meja and step grandsons, Luisfilipe and Luisfernando of Colombia, whom he lovingly supported for many years; six nieces and nephews, and many cousins.

Roger was a mischievous, carefree and athletic teen: he was a regular in Eight Mile Road neighborhood baseball games, lettered on the school swim team, and worked as a lifeguard. He was a remarkable man who lived a full, active life, defying doctors’ predictions that he would not live long after the motorcycle accident that paralyzed him at age 19. He drove a car and later a van, worked as a substitute teacher, launched and operated a photography business, owned and managed a small apartment building, played guitar, shot pool, and welcomed adventures such as building a small boat, traveling and camping on his land on the Ohio River. Over the years, he had many pets—dogs, cats, snakes and birds, including Joey the Irish Setter and April the African Gray parrot. He treasured his many friends, happily tolerating those who didn’t share his liberal political views.

His quest for true love was finally satisfied late in life. Even while facing recurring medical problems, he was most joyful during the last 10 years of his life, thanks to the devotion and care of his loving wife, Damari. They met online in 2010 and fell for each other, even though neither spoke the other’s language—an unlikely but true love story. After spending a few days together in Colombia that fall, they knew it was love at first sight. He applied for her fiancée visa, then returned to Bogotá for several months during 2011 while waiting for it to be approved. They began their new life together in Fort Lauderdale. She became his partner in every sense, and is now a bi-lingual American citizen, affectionately embraced by Roger’s extended family.

Roger will truly be missed and remembered as a strong, heroic man who defied many obstacles and never complained; he endeared himself to his family and friends with his courage, tenacity and cheerfulness. He was creative and playful, often encouraging friends and visitors to join in singing oldies while he strummed guitar or whistled. He left an unforgettable mark on many people, and will remain a source of inspiration as a good and gentle soul who loved life and made the most of it.

The family will gather via Zoom on Sunday, September 5, from 3:00 to 4:00 pm. Loved ones who wish to join should contact Joyce Magee for the Zoom link.

Roger always had hopes for a cure for spinal cord injuries. Donations to, or other spinal cord research organizations would honor his memory.



Rita Cherubini

August 29, 2021, 8:55 pm

So sorry to hear about your brother. May the memories bring you comfort.

Julie Revels

August 29, 2021, 8:59 pm

What a beautifully written tribute to Rogers life . I adored him so much and Damaris also !

Norman Berkowitz

August 29, 2021, 9:38 pm

I feel your sorrow. With much

Carolyn Goddard

August 29, 2021, 9:39 pm

Joyce, I’m so sorry to hear this news.. You spoke of your brother often and I remember thinking how lucky he was to have you as a sister and such a devoted advocate. Please accept my heartfelt condolences.

AnnMarie Kelley

August 29, 2021, 10:05 pm

An inspiring story, full of love and strength. Condolences to all the family.

Linda C Krijt

August 29, 2021, 10:51 pm

Dear Joyce – So sorry to read of the passing of your dear brother who I know you kept very close to your heart. May his memory be forever green among his family and friends and may he be a source of inspiration to others facing special physical challenges. Hugs, Linda

Susan Theise

August 30, 2021, 12:02 am

Roger’s story is quite amazing. What an inspiration. I’m so sorry for your loss. For all those who loved and cared for him so well, I hope you find strength in knowing how incredible you were to this incredible man.

Lynn Brown

August 30, 2021, 6:16 am

Our deepest condolences on the loss of your brother Joyce. Sounds like a fun and full of life fellow surrounded by the love of family and friends! Love from Lynn and Ed

Kathy Lehrbaum

August 30, 2021, 6:48 am

Joyce and Tim, my condolences to you on the loss of your brother. Cherish all your memories.

Autumn (Schear) Lembert

August 30, 2021, 7:01 am

What a lovely tribute. I’m so sorry for your loss.

Ellen Griffin

August 30, 2021, 8:56 am

I’m so sorry to hear of Roger’s passing. My love to all the family. He, and all of you, are in my prayers.

Yvonne Provencial- St Gelais

August 30, 2021, 9:43 am

Sweet Roger, A true inspiration. My heartfelt prayers for comfort and peace to Damaris and the Spitzmiller family who I love so much. Say hi to both our parents as you now enjoy being with our Heavenly Father. (Joyce, pls allow me join the zoom.)

Yvonne Provencial- St Gelais

August 30, 2021, 9:44 am

Sweet Roger, A true inspiration. My heartfelt prayers for comfort and peace to Damaris and the Spitzmiller family who I love so much. Say hi to both our parents as you now enjoy being with our Heavenly Father. (Joyce, I would honored to join the zoom.)

Dan Rohe

August 30, 2021, 10:02 am

I am so sorry for the loss of Roger. He was special in many ways. He was tenacious in his love of life and quietly living successfully with spinal cord injury. All my love, Dan

Raymond Dobbins

August 30, 2021, 10:19 am

Dear Damari and Spitzmiller family, I’m sorry for your loss. Roger was one of the good ones.

Mary Ferri

August 30, 2021, 1:53 pm

An amazing spirit and life, clearly loved by his family. May they be comforted and may he rest in peace.

Mary Mountain Ferri

Michael Gundrum

August 30, 2021, 3:55 pm

Dear Joyce and family,
Roger and I many Facebook Tate de Tate regarding our political differences. I think we both respected and enjoyed the conversations. He shared much of his obituary bet I learned other insights.
Please extend my sympathy to you , his family , and his beloved Damari.
May he Rest In Peace

maura kennedy

August 30, 2021, 4:48 pm

Dear Becky,
I’m so sorry to hear of your beloved brother’s death. The beautifully written tribute to his life exemplified what a truly remarkable man he was. You and your family are in my prayers, and I hope that you continue to remember your fond memories of him.
Maura Kennedy

Steve Maslowski

August 30, 2021, 8:10 pm

I’d known Roger since high school He was smart, determined and a good friend. I will miss him very much.

Terry Stain

August 30, 2021, 8:47 pm

To the Spitzmiller Family,
I am so sorry and sad to hear about Roger. Your entire family has always been so near and dear to my heart, and I will forever treasure memories of time I spent at your homes in both Cincinnati and Ft. Lauderdale. I wish you all the best and will be praying for Rog and thinking of you all.
Terry Stain

Rick Colonel

August 31, 2021, 8:18 am

I hope Roger had put all his trust in JESUS for eternal life… if so…we will be reunited with him!

Linda Spitzmiller

August 31, 2021, 11:43 am

Wow a wonderful cousin he was and an inspiration to us all. My dad, Al Spitzmiller, or Uncle “Woot” to Roger, loved to play music with you when they would “jam” together, down in Florida, to Rabbit Hash, to Cincinnati. Damaris you both showed us the meaning of true love and devotion. He survived and thrived so many obstacles and like the energy bunny…kept on going way beyond what the doctors ever thought.

Love, hugs and prayers to you all.

Linda Spitzmiller and Greg Brown ❤

Susan Hale

August 31, 2021, 1:41 pm

Dear Joyce and family, SO sorry to hear about your loss. He sounded like a great guy. .Hope the good memories soon overcome the sadness. Love, Sue

Cheryl Hartman Koegel

August 31, 2021, 2:58 pm

Dear Joyce, What a wonderful sister you were to Roger. He was a delightful person, positive and knowledgeable, kind and caring. I loved his jokes, his music and his opinion on everything even though I often disagreed. He was full of life and love thanks to you and his beautiful wife. My love to both of you, Cheryl

Christine Holcomb

August 31, 2021, 4:02 pm

Roger always made everyone smile.
I still can see him racing across campus at Broward Community college with his Irish setter . He had long hair back then.
He was a cool dude!
Many hugs to all of the Spitzmiller’s and to his wife.
Christine Provencial Holcomb

Diane Natelli

August 31, 2021, 9:25 pm

Diane Natelli 8/31/21
Condolences to you Joyce and Tim and Damari who was so good to Roger. He is an angel now.

Victoria Olson

September 3, 2021, 5:37 pm

Joyce sending you hugs & sympathy, I never knew your brother but sounded like he had a good full life & fascinated how he accomplished so much considering his disability. A beautifully written obit brought tears to my eyes.
Victoria Olson

Debbie Lee and family

September 4, 2021, 8:16 am

Roger was a wonderful man. So sorry for your loss. Sending love and prayers for family from Rabbit Hash Kentucky

Laura (Peebles) Lilly -Brent’s sister

September 4, 2021, 8:31 am

As sad as I am to hear of his passing, I am happy he and Brent are in heaven together pain free and buddies forever!

Ronald Rohe

September 4, 2021, 5:36 pm

Roger was a fighter who fought for life daily and through many hospital internments some lasting for months. His determination and willingness to suffer to savor life were amazing. After hearing of his accident and the extent of his injuries I remember thinking he would not survive very long. I think I was correct but he was not the average person. Also he had something the average person did not have. He had Audrey and Tootie. Two parents who turned their lives upside down for the benefit of his health. He lived with siblings who loved him and supported him. Whenever I visited him in hospital one of them was always there. Moreover there was a second support group led by his Uncle Jim and Aunt Jinny and the Colonel cousins. These two blended families cheered his constant effort for life and happiness. And then came Damari and she seemed to bring a love which fulfilled him. It was very clear to anyone with eyes that he loved her.
He lived many years beyond my original guesstimate. I am happy I was wrong. But he is an example to us all what courage and determination with a lot of love thrown in the mix can bring. Peace,Roger

Joanna Buckles

September 5, 2021, 7:41 am

Dear Spitzmiller Family,
We are sad about losing Rog. He was such a sweet person. As a little girl he was always my hero! I always loved to hang around him and enjoy his stories, his guitar playing and singing and his pets. The Spitzmiller house was always full of fun and excitement. Love to you all and a special hug to Damari who made him smile, laugh and feel love.
Steve and Jo Buckles.

Nancy Heflin

September 5, 2021, 12:57 pm

That was a beautiful eulogy of Roger’s life he was a friend of mine in the seventies and he helped me so much when I was going through my divorce and it’s funny he passed away on the day I got my divorce we’ll miss him and he did have so much courage and I love his wife for taking care of him and showing him true love he always told me to never give up I never will and I know he’s with Brett now and they are sailing in heaven and having a good time and we will all meet again one day

Bonnie Bolinger

September 12, 2021, 4:54 pm

So sorry to hear about the passing of your brother. It sounds like he lived a full and adventuresome life. My thoughts are with you.

Suzy Maddux

September 13, 2021, 6:22 pm

To the Spitzmiller family,
Roger was my brother Dan’s buddy, and I only remember him as Becky’s big brother, and he was really nice and had a really cool room! Then later, I knew him as a very kind and gentle soul married to a lovely gal. My deepest sympathy to all of you, and especially his dear wife who was his soul mate . God bless you all.

Kim Watling

September 13, 2021, 9:26 pm

To the very special Spitzmiller family and my belle amiche Becky and Gianni,
My heart goes out to you all. What an exceptional life Roger lived! I have not met Damari but I know how great their love is from Becky’s stories and talking to Roger. My brother Chris spent a lot of time in Rabbit Hash & loved Roger for his strength & determination. He is an inspiration to us all. From Clermont Springs to our crazy spring breaks in Ft.Lauderdale to Rome & Umbria, I am blessed as we all are to have Roger and the Spitzmiller family in our lives. His eternal spirit will always be painted across the big sky. Amore! Kim

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