Brother Harrell S. Spruill will always be remembered as beloved teacher, philanthropist. who enjoyed opening his south county farm for working visits by underprivileged children
“I’m trying to transfer the same experience I had when I was growing up on a farm, the idea that nothing grows overnight, that everything takes hard work and time,” he told The Capital in 1991.
Born on Aug. 18, 1924, Spruill was one of 10 children. He grew up on a small soybean and corn farm in northeastern North Carolina. After graduating from high school, he worked in a saw mill for a year to earn money to attend Hampton Institute. At Hampton, he was in a work-study program, which helped pay for school. Spruill was drafted into the Navy in 1943, and returned to Hampton Institute after World War II. He graduated in 1952 and came to Wiley Bates a few years later, where he taught industrial arts, including auto mechanics and body work.
After being honorably discharged from the Navy as a Machinist Mechanic, he returned to school earning a B.S. degree from Hampton University. Upon graduation, he taught at Alcorn State University for two years before arriving in Annapolis to teach at Wiley H. Bates High School. He retired from teaching in the Anne Arundel County Public School System after 29 years of service, yet he was far from finished serving the youth of Anne Arundel County.
Harrell and his wife, the late Pearl Spruill, worked with various local civic organizations and fraternal groups to establish scholarships and educational programs, culminating in the establishment of the Har-Pearl Spruill Foundation, Inc. After Pearl's death, he remarried and he and current wife, Annetta, continued the expansion of many vocational, agricultural, and scholarship programs. In later years, he further expanded his efforts to include continuing education for adults, working closely with Sojourner Douglas College to not only bolster their programs at the Edgewater campus, but most recently to establish a charter school for at risk youth. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate Degree of Letters from Sojourner Douglas College.
The Spruill Family Farm, operated by our own Bro. Harold Spruill, was a significant part of our mentoring program. From 1992-1997, children were brought to the farm where they were taught how to harvest vegetables and assisted the brothers in selling their products at various Farmer's Markets in Annapolis.