Spörck roots go back to Norway
The family of Karl and Leif Spörck, the father-son duo who make livings creating original pottery and ceramic tiles, hails from Norway.
Leif Spörck’s grandfather was born in Norway to a large family during tough times. It was deemed best that he move to Sweden to live with a wealthy uncle who could provide an opportunity for success. “Grandpa” Klaus Spörck earned a degree in engineering from the revered University of Berlin prior to World War II. The war “kind of disrupted everything,” Leif related.
After the war Klaus met and married a woman while working in New York, and eventually the couple moved to Cincinnati where he worked for a company that designed machinery. He designed the tools needed to build the nose cone for Saturn rockets. After his parents split up, Karl Spörck attended Cranbrook Institute near Detroit as Klaus still traveled back and forth from Sweden.
“I don’t know why (grandpa Klaus) initially came to Traverse City, but he ended up doing work for Parsons Corporation during the Vietnam War when they were making helicopter blades,” Spörck said. He eventually married again, this time to a woman who lived on Glen Lake. The family’s connection to Leelanau County was cemented.
Leif Spörck’s work keeps him busy for all but two weeks out of each September, when he makes it a point to visit his family’s native Norway. When visiting grave sites of relatives, the name Spörck is spelled differently — with a slashed “o” instead of the umlauted “o” used by the Spörcks. The reason, Leif Spörck suspects, is that his grandfather switched the spelling to align with Swedish culture.
“I think he had those two dots over the ‘O’ because that was the proper thing to do,” Spörck said.
Spörck has taken to adding a dash through his name while keeping the umlaut.