Granddad featured in ‘Slice of Life’ story

The Valley Morning Star in Harlingen, Texas, wrote a story about my grandfather! There’s a photo, too. (I’m trying to get a copy of it.) I added the links — force of habit. Besides, how many of you have an 81-year-old grandfather with a Web site?

Valuable service: Woody Spillman

Apartment manager goes extra mile to help residents

November 5, 2008 – 10:34PM
By EDWINA P. GARZA/Valley Morning Star

Woody Spillman may be unlike any other apartment manager in the Rio Grande Valley.

Spillman helps his apartment residents with everything from flat tires to rides to the airport at no charge.

In 1995, Spillman, who is originally from Missouri, purchased Oakridge Apartments at 119 N. First St.

During the 1970s, when he was a banker, Spillman spent his winters on South Padre Island.

Decades later after he retired early and started searching for an apartment building to manage, he found the right fit in Harlingen.

“I wanted to be near water,” Spillman explained. “I’ve been here ever since.”

Spillman, now 81, says he’s happy managing his nearly 20 units.

“I think it’s better than anything,” he said. “I like the association of my residents and I enjoy working.”

Spillman, who offers his residents all kinds of free help, says he learned valuable customer service tools when he worked in banking.

“Some of it is my own idea and I don’t know anyone else who does it,” he said.

Because it can be costly to clean up and do construction after someone vacates a unit, Spillman tries to keep his residents at Oakridge Apartments. To do so, he offers monetary bonuses to people who renew their contracts.

Currently, Oakridge Apartments has no vacancy, he added.

When asked why he offers residents all kinds of help, Spillman said he’s just a nice guy.

“If anybody has a flat on the street I’ll stop and help them,” he said.

“It’s not too often that something like that happens.”

A former Merchant Marine who served during World War II, Spillman said he’s traveled across the world. He has visited Japan, Singapore, North Africa, England and Germany, among other countries.

“I got around a lot,” he boasted. “I’ve had an interesting life and at 81, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.”

The family history blog I started has several letters that granddad’s parents sent to each other before they were married.