Bernard James “Jim” Sprafke passed away Thursday, January 18, 2018 at the age of 71. He had lived in Colorado Springs for 45 years.
Jim was born April 10, 1946 in Meriden, Connecticut to Bernard Nicholas Sprafke and Bernadette Cecelia (Brooks) Sprafke. Jim was raised in Meriden; his formative years were spent in countless shenanigans with his siblings Susan, Dick, and Dave. In high school, Jim began rebuilding British motorcycles, a path that would eventually lead him to Colorado Springs. In the late 1960s, Jim crossed paths with lifetime friend, Dave Vierling. The two lived together until Jim joined the Air Force, taking him first to Vietnam, and then to Travis AFB in California. Jim left behind a fiancé, Jan, and they were reunited in California after his discharge. Soon to follow was baby Jill.
Following the Air Force, Jim and Jan moved to Colorado, beginning decades-long service to the Colorado motorcycle scene. Jim volunteered thousands of hours to the CMTRA (Colorado Motorcycle Trail Riders Association), building trails in the Pike National Forest. He also helped to run the Pikes Peak Enduro for many years. Jim was a prominent figure in the Colorado Springs area, building several winning race bikes for the Pikes Peak Hill Climb and many other races. A charter life-member of the American Motorcycle Association and a member of the American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association, Jim raced motorcycles on every terrain imaginable, from coast to coast.
In his years as a mechanic for Don’s Honda, Motor City Yamaha, and as a tools salesman for Mac Tools, Jim forged countless friendships and mentorships across the Colorado Springs Community. He would help you fix any problem, mechanical or otherwise, and was always free for a beer or for lunch.
Jim raised four children—first Jill, Drew, and Karen, and then, when he thought he was done raising kids, he started over, helping Janet Huntington raise her daughter, Clare. Janet remained with Jim for twenty years, and together they welcomed grandkids Anya, Hazel, Mason, Maricel, and Maura.
Jim was a self-proclaimed “Jack of all trades, master of none,” though his skills, prowess and knowledge of all things motorcycle prove otherwise to all who knew him. Jim began restoring vintage British motorcycles as a teenager in Meriden, CT. His bikes gave him endless journeys and even more connections, from a solo trip from New England to Montreal to trail rides, ice races, hare scrambles and vintage trials. Jim taught each of his four children to ride and mentored dozens more in everything from motorcycles to college applications. From the children he pushed, pulled and dragged up hills, out of creeks, out of ice and through the ups and downs of life, we are forever grateful.
Jim is survived by his partner of twenty years, Janet Huntington, as well as his children, Jill Sprafke of Brighton, CO; Drew Sprafke of Lakewood, CO; Karen Sprafke of Lone Tree, CO; and Clare Hammond of Colorado Springs; his grandchildren Anya, Hazel, Mason, Maricel, Maura and his grand-dog Ani; his brothers David Sprafke of Connecticut and Franklin Sprafke of Rhode Island; and his sister Susan Schwarz of Andover, MA. He leaves behind numerous nieces and nephews and too many friends to count.
Jim is preceded in death by his wife, Janet Johnson Sprafke, who passed away in 1982.
His family would like to thank everyone on the Rehab Floor at Penrose Hospital and at Pikes Peak Hospice for their care and attention.
Celebration of Life services will be held at 11:00am Saturday, January 27, 2018 at the Return to Nature Chapel West, 11 North 22nd Street, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80904. A reception with the family will follow the services.
In lieu of flowers, please remember Jim by making donations in his name to the Rider Down Foundation, www.riderdown.org or Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition. COHVCO.org
Services are under the direction of Return to Nature Funeral Home, Colorado Springs, Colorado. www.returntonaturecolorado.com