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Langlade County News

Spychalla Shelter Dedicated Saturday

February 9, 2016

The Spychalla family urged everyone to enjoy your cabin in the woods Saturday.

The event, held at the Jack Lake Ski Trail, marked the dedication of Spychalla Lodge, constructed with a $35,000 donation from the family in honor of patriarch Jim Spychalla, who died in December, 2014 at the age of 87.

Consider this your cabin in the woods, James Spychalla, one of Jim’s four sons, said. Use it for any activity you wish, picnics, reading, small parties, solitude, knitting, playing cards or just for soaking up some heat. Again, this is your cabin.

The program drew a substantial crowd to the trail for an afternoon of skiing, socializing and sharing memories about Jim, a longtime Antigo potato grower, entrepreneur and athlete.

Spychalla logged many hours on the Jack Lake ski trails, as well as Gartzke Flowage and other facilities and was well-known for his longevity and tenacity.

We were together for 58 years and together we raised potatoes and children, Jim’s wife, Gertrude, said. It’s been a long run and together we completed the course.

In his brief remarks, Spychalla thanked Langlade County architect Nate Heuss for designing the lodge, forest administrator Eric Rantala and Veterans Memorial Park caretaker Tom Lazers. He also gave a shout-out to Nicholson Construction.

Our dad could have built this structure 30 years ago, but he didn’t for two reasons, Spychalla said. One, he would have equated it with showing off, and that just wasn’t him. And two, my dad just didn’t need it. He was all about the skiing. In fact, right now, he probably would not be here with us, he would be out skiing and then claim he ‘forgot’ about the dedication.

The programs also included opportunities for friends and family to share memories, and several did, recalling Spychalla’s battered van parked at the Jack Lake trailhead and his equally battered gear.

One piece of that gear, his skis, are now permanently mounted in the lodge.

My father gifts this structure, Spychalla said. It is yours. We want you to feel a sense of ownership...You are all newly minted ski lodge owners.