David Shingler Spell, a former Charleston city councilman and retired senior vice president for First Federal bank, died Thursday after a battle with cancer. He was 85.

A native of Grover, in Dorchester County, Spell graduated from St. George High School at 15, and when he was 16 he competed with about 30 others to be the communications operator with the Sixth Naval District in Charleston.

He was among four young men chosen for the position and worked until 1944, when he joined the Navy.

Spell enrolled at The Citadel as a veteran student in September 1946 in the School of Business Administration, and graduated in June 1950.

Several years ago, Spell created the David Shingler Spell First and Second Honor Graduate Awards, along with two other scholarship funds for cadets.

In 2009 The Citadel Foundation awarded him the "Society of 1843 Medal" for his generosity.

Spell worked at First Federal for 24 years. Gov. Richard Riley appointed him to the S.C. Commission on Aging, and he served for eight years.

Spell served Ward 5 on Charleston City Council for four terms, from 1959 to 1975. He also served as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, and on all council committees at one time or another.

Throughout his career, Spell remained involved with art and cultural activities in Charleston. He created the James S. Spell Endowment, in the memory of his nephew, to provide grants for students of the Clemson University School of Design and Building and the Department of Art.

Survivors include a sister, Mary Frances Spell Griffith, of Lexington; and a brother, Pete Spell of Charleston.

Arrangements are being handled by J. Henry Stuhr's downtown chapel.