Dan R. Spears, 54, communications engineer

March 18, 2004

Dan R. Spears, a telecommunications engineer, died of complications from cancer Monday at Sinai Hospital. The Ellicott City resident was 54.

Born in Scottsville, Ky., he earned a physics degree from the University of Kentucky in Lexington and a master's degree in electrical engineering at the University of Louisville.

He worked for South Central Bell and helped train engineers in Lisle, Ill. He then did research and development work on broadband communications.

Mr. Spears spoke frequently at technical conferences and was considered a leader in creating the technical standards of broadband digital subscriber lines, which technology firms use to provide high-speed Internet access.

In 2000, he retired from BellSouth, moved to Ellicott City and became an executive with Ciena Corp., a Linthicum-based firm that makes fiber-optic networking systems. He later served as director of strategic planning for Ciena's marketing group.

For the past 10 years, he enjoyed oil painting, reproducing old masters' works.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. today at St. Alphonsus Rodriguez Roman Catholic Church, 10800 Old Court Road, Woodstock.

Survivors include his wife of 33 years, the former Eileen Welch; a son, John D. Spears of Atlanta; two daughters, Susan E. Spears of Louisville, Ky., and Sarah M. Coker of Powder Springs, Ga.; his mother, Lela Mae Napier Spears of Scottsville, Ky.; two brothers, Jerry Spears of Raleigh, N.C., and Fred Spears of Scottsville; and a sister, Linda Egbert of Costa Rica.

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