There will probably never be another person like the late Cora Jane Spiller.
Those who were fortunate enough to know her knew of her warm heart, her generosity to others, her vast knowledge of the history of Bowling Green and just about everyone in it, her love of her friends and family and the large amount of energy she had, even in her later years.
The daughter of the late Roy and Jane Morningstar (who was a former Daily News reporter), Cora Jane Spiller sadly passed May 8, just one day shy of her 92nd birthday.
While Cora Jane is no longer with us, she leaves a very proud legacy for others to look up to and one that never should be forgotten.
She led a very interesting life, to say the least, especially with her late husband, Col. Bob Spiller, who passed away in 2018. Cora Jane traveled the world with the Colonel, as everyone called him, for 30 years during his military career before settling back down in Bowling Green and beginning her 40-year legacy of community service.
Cora Jane was always on the move. Many former and current Bowling Green Daily News reporters still talk about how she would march into the newsroom, knowing all the reporters on a first-name basis with tons of material and tips for reporters to pursue.
Cora Jane didn’t care if those tips might have offended someone if they were published – if she believed the tip was accurate, she would push that on our reporters to investigate it. Many of the tips Cora Jane provided us ended up being published. Our reporters liked her and respected her and learned a lot about the business from her.
Cora Jane and the Colonel were also known for their generosity to the community they loved so much. The couple were involved in many charitable organizations and were the recipients of many, many awards.
The couple worked to help groups in need such as the Salvation Army, the Boys and Girls Club, Orchestra Kentucky and South Union Shaker Village. A lot that they did for these organizations was done anonymously, which really is a testament to the kind of people they were.
Their work earned the Spillers the 2017 South Central Kentuckians of the Year Award from the Community Foundation and the 2009 Jefferson Award for public service, among other accolades.
While the Spillers were surely happy to get the awards, they didn’t do all of the charitable work for accolades or awards. They did it because of their big hearts and their desire to help others. These traits were very telling of the Spillers.
For years, the Colonel worked tirelessly with local, state and federal elected officials to get a veterans nursing home in Bowling Green. He was literally the spearhead behind it. He was often overheard saying he wouldn’t stop until it got done. And although didn’t live to see it, it did get done – in large part due to his persistence and hard work to make sure it got approved.
The Spillers really were a power couple in Bowling Green. The parents of four children, they were some of the most genuine people you’d ever have the privilege to meet.
Local historian Ray Buckberry knew the Spillers well. Buckberry said Cora Jane was a great resource for local history.
“She had an encyclopedic knowledge of Warren County and Bowling Green,” Buckberry said. “She was a valuable resource for everyone interested in those subjects.”
Buckberry said she wasn’t shy about sharing the stories and information she had gathered. He is exactly right.
Cindy Hines, a cousin to Cora Jane by marriage, said it very well: “She came to visit, and I commented that I liked her coat. She took it off and left it there for me. I wore it for years. She would literally give you the clothes off her back.”
These are the types of people Cora Jane and the Colonel were. Good-hearted, selfless, always making time to talk to friends and strangers, giving, honest, caring and so knowledgeable.
They were two wonderful people who will be missed greatly by so many in our community and beyond. We will never forget them and hope that their proud legacy lives on for decades to come.