Three of Lydia’s grandparents were immigrants to America. After military service during the Korean War, Lydia’s father worked in Northern Virginia as a federal employee in the Army Corps of Engineers. Her mother was a busy homemaker who made time for community service and as a Democratic activist in the election of President John F. Kennedy. Lydia was the oldest of their five children, who were raised to believe in the values of courage, compassion, and paying it forward.
Shortly before Lydia started college at Virginia Tech, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She drew strength from her ongoing sense
of God’s loving presence until she passed away after a four-year ordeal. Witnessing the health professionals who were her mother’s devoted caregivers inspired Lydia’s decision to become a nurse. Her mother’s courage and faith helped Lydia find her own faith as well.
Lydia received academic scholarships, but also needed several work/study jobs to make ends meet. After she qualified as an assistant nurse, she worked at UVa hospital on weekends and during vacations to earn her way through school and hone her nursing practice skills. After graduating from the University of Virginia, Lydia went on to become Head Nurse in the Department of Surgery at the University of Virginia Health Sciences Center.
A few years later, Lydia decided to return to clinical nursing practice, as Head Nurse of the thoracic cardiovascular team at Children’s National Medical Center. Caring for pediatric patients who needed complex surgeries was often challenging, but Lydia found it deeply rewarding to be able to make a difference in the lives of children and their parents during these difficult and often frightening experiences.
Lydia met her beloved husband Paul when they began working together at Children’s Hospital. He was a resident in the US Army, completing his training in pediatric cardiac anesthesia. After a whirlwind romance, they married in less than a year and were transferred to Paul’s duty station as a physician in the 3rd Infantry Division Army Hospital in Wurzburg, Germany.
During her pregnancy with their first child, Lydia worked in the labor and delivery unit of the base hospital. A year after delivering her own baby, Lydia followed in her mother’s footsteps, volunteering in the US Army Medical Auxiliary, an organization that was working in military hospitals throughout the European theater of operations, providing support to their pediatric medical care facilities.
A few years after Paul retired from military service, his anesthesia career led them to Wisconsin in 1985. They settled into their Kenosha home with their young family that now included infant twins, grateful for the warm welcome they received from their new neighbors. After a year as a stay-at-home mom, Lydia began community service work in Kenosha. In 1989, her retiring alderman asked her to consider running for his city council seat. With encouragement from Paul and friends, she decided to give it a try. In 1990 she was elected to the Kenosha Common Council, representing the 3rd Aldermanic District. She served the district until 1998.
In 2016, John Antaramian appointed her to several city boards and commissions, where she continues to serve. Lydia considers it a privilege to serve in our city government and has been blessed by her experiences volunteering for non-profit organizations and in their faith home at First Presbyterian Church.
Kenosha has been home for the Spottswood family over the past 38 years. After 44 years of marriage, they are blessed by their loving adult children and delightful grandchildren. They are deeply grateful for the love of family and friends, and for the opportunities they have had to play a part in the progress of their beautiful community on the shore of Lake Michigan.