Jules Sprung — a Westport resident since 1976, and a noted swimming teacher — died March 6 in Norwalk Hospital, of kidney failure. He was 92.
Jules founded and ran 2 mail-order office supply companies, Hudson Pen and Sarand. He sold the latter in 1988, then worked as a marketing consultant.
In retirement Jules taught swimming classes for children for many years at the Westport YMCA. He was an honored presence at the pool until the pandemic.
He was also president of the Indian River Green condo complex on Saugatuck Road, where he and Barbara moved in 2002.
Born in New York City in 1928, Jules lived with his parents on the Lower East Side until the Depression forced them to move in with Jules’s grandparents in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
At Stuyvesant High School he was elected class vice president, and was celebrated for scheduling dances with nearby girls’ schools.
After a year at City College he transferred to DePauw University in Indiana, graduating in 1949. He was commissioned as a lieutenant in the Army National Guard from 1952, and worked for a time at the New York Post. He also spent some years as a marketing executive before founding Hudson Pen around 1969.
He was introduced to Barbara Rosenfeld, a freshman at Sarah Lawrence College, in 1952. They married in 1953. Their daughter Sarah was born in 1956; son Andrew followed in 1959.
The Sprungs had a genuine feminist partnership. Jules supported Barbara’s work as an early childhood teacher in the 1960s, her pursuit of a master’s degree in education in the early ’70s, and her career as a nonprofit founder and early childhood curriculum producer in the decades following.
When Barbara co-founded the nonprofit Educational Equity Concepts in 1981, Jules generously provided office space to the startup at Sarand.
Jules had a strong creative streak, writing short stories and authoring an ambitious historical novel in his 70s. He also published a memoir of his early life and career. Jules was enormously well-read and enjoyed sharing his knowledge about topics like political history and the classics. He had a mischievous sense of humor, whose storytelling skills often made him the last person to finish dinner.
Having enjoyed working as a swimming instructor at summer camps in his youth, Jules reconnected with that early passion in his 70s. He was recertified as a Red Cross instructor, and putting his skill to work at the Westport Y for 15 years, until 2012.
A patient instructor who enjoyed children, he provided meticulous small group and one-on-one instruction.
In his later years the pool was a refuge from arthritis. He was a familiar presence at the warmer end, where he was accorded space to do his backstroke laps. He and Barbara also loved Compo Beach and visited regularly.
In addition to his wife, Jules is survived by his sister Helene Naimon; his daughter Sarah (Allan) and son Andrew (Cynthia); 5 grandchildren, 2 great-grandchildren; sister Helen Naimon, and a niece.
Donations in Jules Sprung’s memory can be made to the Connecticut Food Bank.