posted on February 20, 2013 15:58
Alexandria, Va. – Matthew L. Spitzer, musician, entrepreneur, and flying enthusiast, passed away in Hayward, Calif. on February 8, 2013.
Matthew was born June 20, 1929, in Pittsburgh, Pa., and raised in Niagara Falls, N.Y. A talented professional pianist with perfect pitch, Matthew played in the Niagara Falls/Buffalo area both solo and with The Billy Howells Band.
Matthew was also passionate about flying, and took the money from his first paying gig to buy his first flying lesson. His ATP license covered fixed-wing single and multi-engine, land and sea, and rotorcraft, and he was rated to fly his Cessna Citation. He often flew his own planes from California to New York to visit his parents.
A true entrepreneur, Matthew started several small electronics businesses while in his twenties. He learned from those early experiences and acquired additional experience working for Bell, Collins Radio and General Dynamics.
After he moved to California in 1968, he returned to the entrepreneurial path and started or acquired several successful businesses, including Spitzer Music, Sahlein Distributing, Leo’s Professional Audio, and his last venture, Spitzer Helicopter Leasing.
Spitzer Helicopter leasing combined Matthew’s entrepreneurial drive, business experience, and love of flying. He got the idea for leasing helicopters after he took lessons from his friend and former HAI chairman, Patrick Corr, in 1985, and eventually acquired a fleet of more than 80 Robinson helicopters, primarily leased to flying schools around the United States.
Matthew is survived by his wife, Rosemary Rodd; his four sons and their families (Mark and Leah; Eddie and his fiancé, Katarina; Eric and Michelle; and Joe and Eleanore); seven grandchildren (Mindy, Rebecca, Max, Jacob, Geoffrey, Elise, and Russell); one great grandchild (Chase Nevada Poland); and cousin, Sidney Bender.
Memorial services will be held at 1:00 p.m. on February 24 at Sorenson’s Mortuary in Hayward.