It is with great sadness we note the passing of three individuals who have contributed their
many talents to the Family Learning Institute.
Larry was a familiar figure and supporter of FLI, as he worked alongside his wife, Doris Sperling,
co-founder of the organization. He met Doris, the love of his life, on a train taking them to start
their first year at the University of Michigan. The Sperlings were married for over 65 years. Larry
is remembered for his passion for progressive politics and for legal and social justice for those
least well off. He enjoyed Michigan football and basketball, the Detroit Tigers, and a good game
of tennis. He relished Haagen-Dazs coffee ice cream, classic Broadway musicals, Beethoven’s
Violin Concerto, and the music of Paul Robeson and Harry Belafonte. He earned his J.D. with
Distinction from Michigan Law School in 1956, and then set up his own legal practice. He later
merged his practice to create the firm of Pear, Sperling, Eggan and Daniels, where he was still
practicing law until two weeks before his death. Larry was a strong and active supporter of the
socially beneficial organizations founded by members of his family, including the Ann Arbor
Young People’s Theatre, the Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit, and our own Family Learning
Ward was a math tutor at FLI and an enthusiastic participant of the annual Spelling Bee
fundraiser. He graduated from Calvin College and received his Ph.D. in Mathematics from the
University of Michigan. He was a sought after professor at Penn State, Southern Illinois
University, and the University of Michigan. He also served as an editor of the prestigious
Mathematical Reviews, a journal of the American Mathematical Society. Ward attributed his
focus on volunteering and philanthropy to his wife Mary Bouwsma. In addition to tutoring at FLI,
he volunteered at homeless shelters and other non-profits, where he taught math and reading
Lou was a dedicated math tutor at FLI. He earned his B.A. at the University of Michigan and
received his masters in mathematics from Eastern Michigan University. At the U-M Lou met Liz,
his wife of over 48 years. After teaching for several years in the Detroit Public Schools as well as
Lincoln Consolidated Schools, Lou embarked on a new career. He worked at Consumers Power Company
and later launched his own company, Energy Services Group, which he operated for over 19 years.
Lou was a great outdoorsman, but most importantly, Lou was a very devoted husband and father.
He never missed a baseball game, band concert, or swim meet despite his busy work schedule.
Following his retirement, Lou returned to his passion for teaching by volunteering at the Family