Luke “Skip” Spangenburg passed away on Saturday, September 5, 2020 while camping in the Jemez Mountains. Born on October 9, 1964 in Alameda, CA, Luke spent his early years in Hawaii, moving to England, Canada and eventually to South Carolina. As a young man, Luke earned a Black Belt in Karate and was named a National Karate champion in his weight class. At 21 he began racing bicycles professionally. In a cycling career that spanned thirteen years, Luke rode for prize-winning teams such as the Navigators, IME and Slim Fast. He was a member of the US National Cycling team, and was the winner of national and international stage races throughout the United States, Europe and South America. In 1994 and 1996 he won the national stage race of Peru, the Tour de Peru. After retiring from cycling in 1998, he became a high alpine mountain guide in the Andes of Peru, climbing some of the largest mountains in the Cordillera Blanca.
In 2006, he met his wife, Sarah, in Santa Fe, where they got married and had two children, Nico and Sadie. Luke then went on to earn his Associates Degree in Sustainable Technologies from the Santa Fe Community College (SFCC) in 2009. Luke was a founder and president of NSE, Inc., an algae technology company, and he patented novel systems for efficient algae cultivation. In 2011, he began working at SFCC, teaching in the alternative fuels program. In 2013, he became the Director of the Biofuels Center of Excellence, and in 2015, director of the Innovation Center at SFCC. A nationally recognized leader in the algae and biofuels industry, Luke was presented with the Algae Ambassador of the Year award from Algae Industry Magazine in 2015, and the college was voted the second ranked educational program in the field. Luke was an inaugural member of the Algae Technology Educational Consortium (ATEC) funded by the Department of Energy and the Algae Foundation. During his tenure at SFCC, his vision and energy inspired many students to work for a more just and sustainable future.
Luke is survived by his wife, Sarah Ghiorse, his son, Nico (12) and daughter, Sadie (9), along with his mother, Judith Brookman, and his sisters Patricia Boyle, Kelly Sgrillo, and Nicole Spangenburg and their children Kyle, Nick, Ian, Kip, Dominic, Stormy, Liam, and Aidan.
Luke was a powerful spirit and a visionary. His legacy, love for his family and his commitment to the earth live on in his work at SFCC, and in his children, Nico and Sadie. He will forever be missed.
The Luke Spangenburg Memorial Fund has been set up for Nico and Sadie’s education. To make a contribution in his honor, or for more information, contact Cass Ghiorse at email@example.com.
A scholarship fund in Luke’s name has been set up by the Algae Foundation to assist algae students from Santa Fe Community College. If you would like to make a contribution in Luke’s honor, please contact Dr. Ike Levine at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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