Fatal crash victim, 49, was local businessman

Quentin O. Spendrup loved anything space-related, so his wife, Mary, planned a 50th birthday surprise trip to Orlando, Fla., to visit the Kennedy Space Center.

But the life of Quentin O. Spendrup, 49, “a compassionate man with a heart of gold,” was cut short when he was killed in a collision at a notoriously dangerous Grand Junction intersection Wednesday evening.

“He was the love of my life,” Mary said of her husband of 28 years.

She said the two met in their teens while students at Grand Junction High School.

At 18, Quentin started SMJ Inc. off 24 Road, which manufactures and designs all sizes of fans. The two worked side by side for the next 31 years, Mary said.

The business employs about 15 people, who include the couple’s three children — two daughters and a son — who are all in their 20s, she said.

“I was so fortunate because we clicked,” Mary said of Quentin. “He was the brains behind the designs, and I made sure the bills were paid.”

Spendrup was killed after the driver of a dump truck, Ramon Mendoza, 45, of Silt, failed to stop at a stop sign at the intersection of 23 and G roads, according to the Grand Junction Police Department. Mendoza owned the dump truck, and authorities are determining whether to file charges in the case, police spokeswoman Kate Porras said.

Mendoza sustained minor injuries in the crash, Porras said.

In the past eight years, 26 crashes have been reported at the intersection, including two other fatalities. In 24 of those crashes,  vehicles were broadsided.

Six times in the past two years, officers have placed devices in the area of that intersection to show drivers their speed as they approach the intersection, Porras said.

Construction to convert the intersection into a roundabout may occur as soon as 2010, as a federal grant for the project has recently been approved, she said.

Spendrup’s father, John Spendrup, owns Spendrup Fan Co., which manufactures industrial-sized fans used in the mining industry.

Mary Spendrup said Quentin was known to work six or sometimes seven days a week and was humble about his amazing ability to solve complex problems. Others will miss his knack for cooking scrumptious ribs, which he slow-roasted in a homemade smoker.

“He was phenomenal,” Mary said. “He said, ‘If I could do it, anybody could do it.’ But that wasn’t true.”


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