John F. Spataro

4/7/1969 – 2/23/2017

John Francis Spataro of Athens, Ohio passed away unexpectedly Thursday at the age of 47. He is survived by his mother Dorothy, father Lucian Sr (wife Guang-Zhen), brother Lucian Jr. (wife Lori), and girlfriend Dawn Brandon and dog Quincy. He attended Athens High School (Class of 1987) and Ohio University.

An Athens, Ohio native, John spent his formative years surrounded by music, as a member of the Athens High School Marching Green & Gold, and playing guitar and bass with many local music groups such as Himalaya, Twisthead, Mobius Cobius, and the Killdarados.

In the 1990's John founded one of Athens' most popular live music bands, The Royales, which went on to perform successful shows and festivals all over the region, for over 20 years.

John had a love of the blues, and was one of the most distinctive blues guitarists around, combining a scrappy-almost sloppy-aggressive approach to his performances, with a technical mastery and expertise of the instrument rarely matched.

Also in the 90's, John and his brother Lucian Jr. lived in Mexico where they learned to scuba dive, and eat habanero peppers chased by Tecate'.

He more recently became a certified Luthier (expert guitar repairman,) studying at the Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery in Phoenix, Arizona, then putting that education to work at the prestigious Collings Guitars, in Austin, Texas.

John moved back to Athens two years ago, where he set to work actively establishing his Luthier service as a local business, and building a strong and loyal clientele.

John enjoyed his life with friends, a vast social circle all over the country, including continuous relationships with his many high school buddies. John enjoyed the friendships of Tony's Tavern, loved his Cleveland Browns, and cherished long walks with his lady Dawn and their dog Quincy.

John loved walks and nature, always had his eyes peeled for his favorite type of animal, the Red Headed Pileated Wood Pecker. He also especially liked his various trips to Scottsdale to visit with his family and get out of the cold.

He was a son, a brother, and a friend to so many. For everyone that knew John, you always knew one thing, and that was they he cared deeply about every one of us. For his family and all his many friends, we will never forget him and we will miss him forever.

In lieu of flowers, the John Spataro Memorial Fund has been established to help provide music lessons and instruments to those who may need financial assistance. More information is available at

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 11, 2017, at the Dairy Barn in Athens, Ohio, at 2pm.

Donate to the John Spataro Memorial Fund