Celebrating the Epic Life of Sean Spain
Family, friends and colleagues of Sean Spain gathered in his memory on Sunday, July 2, 2023 for a truly memorable celebration of life at the Bellingham Cruise Terminal. Guest speakers shared stories of Sean's creative nature and the tenacious drive behind it, his passion for music and creating next-level events to wow his guests, and his deep love, devotion, and admiration for his family. Following the ceremony, guests were treated to a beautiful charcuterie and dessert spread constructed by Epic Memorials and a tasty menu of selections provided by Tacos El Tule taco truck. Our event decor reflected Sean's badass nature and love of the color red, and featured his guitars, Star Wars relics, and his collection of personal ephemera, which inspired the creation of our guest keepsake in the form of backstage credentials featuring our honoree. Guests of Sean's celebration of life helped create the music playlist for the day, which will remain available for listening on Spotify.
Siv, Eli and Isak Spain ask you to join the celebration of life they have been creating in honor of their favorite person, Sean Matthew Spain. We will gather to celebrate Sean and everything we love about him on Sunday, July 2, 2023 at the Bellingham Cruise Terminal* in Fairhaven. Doors for this event will open at 1:00pm with a ceremony beginning at 1:30. We hope you'll join us for lunch following the ceremony- Sean loved a good taco truck so we've invited Tacos el Tule to join us! Dress code for this event is casual and guests are asked to wear their favorite concert t-shirts, Vans or anything that reminds you of Sean. We are also asking guests to share a few songs that remind you of Sean! We'll be using these songs to create the playlist for Sean's celebration and will make it available to guests at the event. You'll be asked to add your song titles as part of the RSVP. Also, please share fun memories and pictures of Sean on our Kudoboard, which we will be printing as a keepsake for Eli and Isak in the future. Thank you for being part of these collaborative efforts in Sean's honor!
*Please note, this venue is on the second floor of the cruise terminal. If you have trouble managing stairs, you'll find an elevator to the left as you enter the building.
Sean journeyed to the Great Beyond unexpectedly for unknown cosmic reasons at his Bellingham home on May 21, 2023. Sean was born with a heart arrhythmia, which resulted in a pacemaker when he was in his thirties. It’s possible this was the cause of the cardiac event that preceded his journey from us, but it isn’t known for sure.
He entered this world to the music of the universe, to the best parents, Robert (Bob) and Bernice (Patnode) Spain, both of whom he loved, admired, and looked up to his whole life. He grew up in Yakima, WA, attending St. Paul’s Cathedral School and graduating from Eisenhower High School in 1990.
As a child, Sean adored his father, who was his role model throughout life. He followed in Bob’s footsteps, and was active in sports, playing soccer, basketball, baseball, football and wrestling. As a teen, he skied, water skied and skateboarded. This period of his life was fodder for many, many stories that he would later tell to all of us, multiple times, but we never would tire of them, because they were hilarious.
Sean was the most creative person many of us have ever known. He was an artist and a storyteller. From building his bed into a papier mache whale, to drawing and painting, building LEGO, to putting on magic shows and lip syncs for the neighborhood kids (foreshadowing of his future career), making clay models, to putting on elaborate haunted houses (which he did even as a grown up when he was bored once, turning it into a fundraiser for a local women’s shelter), to organizing the neighborhood children for outdoor games together. As a tween, he was going through his uncle’s old records where he was inspired by the KISS and Pink Floyd albums he found. He also purchased a collection of Funkadelic records around this time, on accident, based on the album covers, and was forever changed and inspired by the combination of humor, theatrics and music. He was born just at the right time to see bands like Van Halen and Twisted Sister emerge during his formative years. He got his first electric guitar in middle school - and told us many times about how it was taken away and hidden in the attic due to a low grade, which was quite an anomaly for him, and so quickly brought his grade up to get his guitar back.
During his high school years, Sean found his true passion in life, which would lead to a future career as a concert producer. Sean played guitar and bass in garage bands, the most notable being Uncle Squirrelly. We would hear from Uncle Squirrelly fans around town for years later in Bellingham. He rented halls and organized concerts of local bands, mostly so his band could play, and also so he could enact his visions of theatrics combined with music. He always said his band was not very musically talented, except for the drummer (who really wanted to sing, but Sean said, “You can play drums and be in the band, or you can sing and not be in the band”), but that didn’t matter much because the shows were so much fun and rather unpredictable.
When he moved to Bellingham for college, Sean continued playing music with Uncle Squirrelly and putting on concerts. His next band was Superfly 2000 and he booked bands at local bars. Toward the end of Superfly, Siv played violin for the band. He told others that when she played the violin with them the first time, he fell in love. She felt the same way, and their friendship would soon turn into best friends in love, which turned into a marriage of 22 years. During college, he wrote an entertainment column for the Bellingham Herald and started and published “What’s Up?”, a monthly entertainment magazine, mostly as a way to get free advertising for his band, but the magazine endured for two-plus decades, under the leadership of his good friend and co-founder. Putting on shows for his own band continued to be wild and unpredictable, and included a smoke machine disguised as a papier mache donkey (resulting in getting banned from playing at the Viking Union), getting kicked out of the Up & Up Tavern by the owner during a show, and also getting banned from Canada for a period of time.
Sean and Siv married in 2001. While Sean loved music, and was definitely the person you would choose to be on your music or pop culture trivia team, he loved being married and family life even more. They waited ten years to have their children, and in the meantime Sean booked shows and put on concerts, and patiently supported Siv while she completed her master’s degree and teaching certificate. During this time, he co-founded the Red Sky Agency, which was the culmination of years of tenacity and persistence in breaking through in the entertainment industry to be able to book national acts in our small upper left corner of the country. He was proud of his accomplishments in establishing this company and earned a reputation of success based on enduring relationships and positive vibes. They both worked hard, and explored together to Mexico, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Canada, eastern United States, and on many camping and road trips. They also bought a sailboat together and adventured in the Salish Sea and San Juan Islands. Finally, as Siv’s grant-supported teaching job came to an end, their first son, Eli Zander was born, followed two years and five months later, by Isak Matthew.
Sean was born to be a dad. He was all a partner in marriage could ever ask for in the journey of parenthood. His two boys have been the luckiest in the world, having a dad who brings all the fun, all the time. His creativity and imagination have lent themselves well in parenthood - spending hours telling stories made up on the fly to our older son when he struggled to fall asleep (for at least 2 years of his life). Waking up at 4am to play made-up games with a toddler in order to let his wife sleep a bit more. Making two little boys laugh and laugh at silly games. Sean was affectionate, gentle, kind, loving, and attentive to his kids. They’ve spent hours playing LEGO; Sean shared his love of all things Star Wars with the boys, and even built tie fighters for them (without instructions! from imagination!), amongst many other ships and structures. Any time friends were over for parties and such, Sean liked to have door prizes that any kids who came to the party could win, to make it more fun for the kids as the boring grown-ups chatted. As the boys grew up, Sean used his haunted house-crafting talents to help the boys throw a haunted house Halloween party the past couple of years. Sean has embraced Siv’s travel and adventure plans as a family - while she dreamt up and planned the ski and road trip adventures, Sean executed them (without complaining), loading up food and gear, putting roof racks, ski gear, and bike racks on the car, always on board and helping to rally the kids when one or the other was feeling less motivated. Sean was our beloved. Sean was our rock, our comforting home in a hug. Damn, we miss him.
Sean is survived by his wife, Siv (Ostlund) Spain; sons, Eli (age 11) and Isak (age 9) Spain; parents, Bob and Bernice Spain; sister, Janelle Spain; brothers and sisters in-law Kjell and Hillary Ostlund, Anne-Britt and Markus Schenk; parents in-law Bodil Ostlund, and Jon and Leslie Ostlund; and nieces Eliza Viden, and Tia and Sadie Schenk. He is also survived by numerous aunts, uncles and cousins, friends, fans, and colleagues.
Please share fun memories and pictures on our Kudoboard in Sean's honor. In the future, we will print this into a book for his children.