Lani Spivey


On Friday, October 13th, 2017, Lani Spivey, after running the race of her life, crossed the finish line to come home and be with Jesus in Heaven. She was surrounded by her loving husband, Larkin, her children, Anastasia, Bayliss, Catherine-Alexa, Windom, their spouses, and her 10 grandchildren. Greeting her with jubilation in Heaven are her mother and father, Eleanor and William Hillwig, and her big brother, Billy Hillwig, all of Allentown, PA.

Lani entered this earthly world on August 7, 1945 in Paterson, NJ, and brought joy and happiness to all around her from the very beginning. As a child she was the quintessential tomboy, running faster and climbing higher than any of her compatriots - a quality that she never outgrew as she traveled the world, delighted in athletic endeavors, and scaled mountains, both metaphorical and literal. Once she set her mind at something, there was nothing she couldn't accomplish.

While sunbathing on the rooftop terrace of their shared apartment building in Arlington, VA, a simple glimpse between Larkin and Lani in 1969 sparked a great love story that would last for 48 years on earth and forevermore in the hereafter. They had an epic, adventurous and passionate marriage and produced four amazing, beautiful children (if their children do say so themselves). Lani was an exemplary Marine Corps wife, creating warm home bases in Washington DC, California and South Carolina, even during prolonged separations with Larkin’s deployments to Southeast Asia.

Lani attended the Sorbonne University in Paris, where she studied art history, and her artistic sensibility and joie de vivre colored every aspect of her life. She was a painter, garden curator, decorator, and award-winning photographer with impeccable style.

When Lani spoke to you, it felt like time stood still and that you were the only person in the world, as she endeavored to give visibility and validation to everyone who crossed her path. Her insightfulness allowed her to glimpse a person's true potential, and she never missed an opportunity to make people feel unique and loved. Thanks to Joe Gibbs, Bible Study Fellowship, and friends at Trinity Church she came to Christ in 1992 and began a new journey of service in God’s Kingdom, sharing the Gospel with her family, friends, and countless others.

Lani has always been proudly patriotic and enduringly supportive of military and veteran causes, raising funds for wounded warriors through her work with Heal Our Patriots and Fisher House of Charleston. She also strove to bring joy and recognition to WWII and Korean veterans during Honor Flights she helped organize.

The world will never be the same in the absence of this spectacular woman. Her family feels her loss acutely, a pain that is only ameliorated by the fact that she is now dancing in the loving presence of her Heavenly Father. It elicits a smile to know that Lani is able to explore the rapturous beauty of Heaven ahead of us, just as her adventurous personality would have desired.

Her family invites all that were touched by her presence to join in the celebration of her life. Visitation will be held at McMillan-Small Funeral Home on Friday, October 20, 2017 from 5:00-7:00pm. A memorial service and homecoming will take place at Trinity Church on Saturday, October 21, 2017 at 10:00am. Burial will be held at a later date in Arlington National Cemetery, with a service preceding at Fort Myer Chapel.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial in Lani’s name may be made to Fisher House of Charleston, PO Box 1678, Charleston, SC 29402 or Fisher House of Charleston provides a comfortable refuge for families of veterans seeking medical care at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center.

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Created On: 12/15/2017 12:04:26

Please accept my condolences for the passing of your dear loved one. When someone we love dies, the heartache and grief can be great. I hope that you can be comforted knowing that Jehovah God cares for you and sees your pain. (1 Peter 5:7) "He is close to the brokenhearted and He saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18) May you find comfort and relief during this grievous time, as you cherish the precious memories of Lani.

Teresa and Anton Poster
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Myrtle Beach, SC
Created On: 10/22/2017 15:06:39


We were so saddened to hear of Lani's passing! She was such a a vibrant lady amd we know she will be greatly missed by all who knew her. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Teresa & Anton Poster

Walt and Carolyn Schumacher
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Clinton, Oklahoma
Created On: 10/22/2017 15:05:56

We were so sorry to hear of Lani's death! You and your family are in our prayers! She was such a dynamic little woman!
Carolyn & Walt

Bob Bardo
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Colleyville, TX
Created On: 10/22/2017 15:05:05

Dear Larkin and Family,
I was shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Lani. Lani was an example to all on how to be a great and caring wife, mother, and grandmother. Her beauty is matched by her sweetness and her devotion to God and family. It was an honor and great pleasure to get to know Lani and I will always keep her in my mind and heart. My deepest sympathies and condolences to you, Larkin, and Anastasia & Ken, Bayliss & Lara, Catherine-Alexa & Daniel, Windom & Stephanie and Lani & Larkin’s ten grandchildren.
Their loving children and grandchildren will always be a reflection of, and a memorial to, Lani and Larkin.

Gary and Barb Austin
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Created On: 10/22/2017 15:04:15

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Spivey family.

Linda and Dalton Floyd
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Murrells Inlet, SC
Created On: 10/22/2017 15:03:27

We are very sad to hear of Lani’s passing. Love and prayers of comfort to the Spivey family. She will be missed!

Scott and Pamela Pyle
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Myrtle Beach
Created On: 10/22/2017 15:02:42

Our lives have been forever changed by our relationship with Larkin and Lani. They each served God in ways that will impact generations. I, Pamela, am especially thankful for her challenge to go to Rwanda on mission and how that gift from her is a gift that will continue for generations. A maverick at heart but a soul that saw the good in others, a true angel is returning to her home and my only peace in that is the visual of how much fun she will bring to those that she greets there.

We love you Larkin and Lani and the Spivey family.
Well DONE!

Scott and Pamela Pyle

Cal and Sheila Cunningham
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Myrtle Beach, SC
Created On: 10/22/2017 15:01:23

Dear Larkin and Family,
We are so very saddened by the loss of your beautiful wife and devoted mother. She was a shining light while she was with us, but, I know, she now rejoices in the arms of Our Lord, and she now knows the peace for which we each yearn. We are so sorry that we will be unable to share in her memorial, but we will be in Raleigh, Alexandria, and Charlotte, and will not return until the 26th of October. May Our Father bless and comfort each of you in your sorrow, and may you know His Beautiful Peace.

Nancy and Mark Skelley
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Myrtle Beach
Created On: 10/22/2017 15:00:19

Mark and I are so saddened by Lani's passing and pray for you and your beautiful family. Lani was so passionate about her family, friends and faith in Christ. May the hope you have for a blessed reunion through your trust in Christ give you comfort. Love you.

Juan Alicea
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Myrtle Beach, SC
Created On: 10/22/2017 14:59:37

My Prayers and condolences are with the entire Spivey Family.



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