Founding member of the First Urantia Society of Fort Wayne Indiana
Irene Sprunger was born on 05 Jul 1916, in Van Wert County, Ohio. At three she moved to a farm near Magley, Indiana, graduated from Decatur High School. She was the daughter of Henry and Anna Scherry. She had three brothers, Rufus, Walter, and Chester. She took religious training courses for teachers, and attended as well as served as secretary and teacher of the Daily Vacation Bible School. While later taking classes at Princeton Theological Seminary, she met her husband, Meredith, who was working on his master’s degree.
They were married in 1940 after his graduation. While Meredith was assigned to different pastoral posts for the United Reformed and Evangelical Church of Christ, the family moved to cities as Culver, Indiana, Mulberry, Indiana, and Chicago, Illinois. In 1959, they moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana and settled for the remainder of their lives. Meredith took a post as a professor at the Indiana Institute of Technology where he remained until retirement. They had two daughters, Ruth and Grace. Irene and Meredith were married for 66 years.
Irene served as a counselor at girls’ summer camps, worked at the County Agent office in Decatur and spent 14 years as secretary to the Food Service Supervisor of Fort Wayne Community Schools. She was very supportive of women’s activities in the church and communities in which she has lived. She listed among her interests: piano and organ playing, reading, writing letters to friends, embroidery work, working on genealogy, and enjoying nature at the their cabin on Winslow Lake in Upper Michigan.
The Sprungers first saw a copy of The Urantia Book in 1955, and "had a good laugh at the ridiculous names of the authors." But by early 1956, Meredith had been given a copy, had read it, and wanted to share it with Irene. She was skeptical, saying, "I was cautious, being non-aggressive and shy." But after a couple of months of "giving the book sidelong glances," she started the Jesus Papers, along with the Bible and discovered that the Urantia Book "made sense out of the Bible for me...The URANTIA Book...makes the four gospels of the New Testament 'come to life'."
Irene was one of the founders of the First Urantia Society of Fort Wayne and hosted a weekly study group in their home since 1962. She served as secretary of the Brotherhood Charter Committee and was her society’s delegate to the 1979 Triennial Delegate Assembly. She also was co-chairman of the 1978 Midwest Conference. In addition she was Secretary/Treasurer for the Christian Fellowship of Students of The Urantia Book, an organization begun by Meredith to bring the book to Christian leaders. Whether it was as the wife of: a pastor, college professor, field representative for the Urantia Brotherhood, or Urantia Brotherhood President, Irene wore many hats. The testimony of the Sprunger's lives is a testimony to the sucesssful partnership that they shared in family life and spiritual life.
Irene Sprunger was optimistic about the future of The Urantia Book Movement. She stated, "I see more and more solid and thinking people finding The Urantia Book and recognizing it for the truth, beauty and goodness it reveals. I think the whole world will gradually discover The Urantia Book and recognize the quality of its message." Irene graduated to the Mansion Worlds on Tuesday, 27 Feb Feb 2007.
The UBHS staff wishes to acknowledge that much of the biographical information used in this article is directly from the article in the serial Pervaded Space Winter 1982 and the obituary in the Fort Wayne New-Sentinel 03 March 2007.
* Pervaded Space Winter 1982
* Fort Wayne News-Sentinel 03 Mar 2007