John “Jack” Spencer, 84, of Sundance, Wyoming, passed away on August 9, 2017, at the Fort Meade VA Hospice Center in Sturgis, South Dakota.
Jack was born on December 14, 1932, in Custer, South Dakota, to parents Richard Elmo and Kathaleen Allegra (Smith) Spencer. He was later joined by younger brother, Thomas.
He enlisted in the Air Force with his mother’s permission in 1950 and was stationed in Korea until 1952 when he returned stateside and completed his enlistment in Long Beach, California, in 1953. He received his GED before leaving the service and attended, then graduated from, Black Hills State College in 1958 with a degree in Business Administration and Economics with a minor in Primary Education and Physical Education.
He and his family moved to Douglas, Wyoming, where he accepted his first teaching position. Jack continued his career the next year in Osage, Wyoming, at Kitty Moats Elementary until 1969 when the family moved to Byron, Wyoming, where he taught at the Byron Junior High and High Schools.
The Spencers then moved their family to Australia in August 1972, where Jack taught in a primary school in Toukley, New South Wales, until September 1974. The family came home to northeastern Wyoming, where Jack taught in Moorcroft for one year before returning to Osage to complete his full-time teaching and coaching career in 1994.
He continued to substitute teach in several states (Nebraska, Texas, Arizona) until 2009. Jack’s tenure at Osage allowed him to teach multiple (at least two) generations of families.
He, his son Michael and grandson Johnathon also coached basketball together for different AAU teams in Texas. Teaching and coaching were his life’s passion other than his family, which was his most important accomplishment and greatest pleasure.
Jack was a great family man and a loving father. He married Phyllis Smith in December 1952 in Newcastle, Wyoming, and the couple had four children together. These children in turn provided the family with five grandchildren, who then gave him eleven great-grandchildren.
While Jack was a very social man, his family and extended family were his devotion and they enjoyed traveling, camping, wood cutting and collecting, hunting and so much more together. He and Phyllis especially enjoyed traveling with her siblings by motor home to Canada, to the Grand Canyon where they rode mules to the Phantom Ranch, and many more adventures.
His family and friends will always remember him as a respectful man with deeply held beliefs like living by the golden rule, children are our future and must be taught to respect themselves and everyone in their lives, be courageous and push themselves to be the best person they can be, and to be excited by life and grab it with both hands to get the most from it.
Mr. Spencer is survived by his children, Richard of Sanford, Colorado, Michael (Jaylene) of Paradise, Texas, Kathaleen and Timothy, both of Sundance. He is preceded in death by his parents, wife and younger brother.
Memorial services will be on Friday, August 25, 2017, at 10 a.m. with a reception to follow at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Sundance, with Father Steve Christy officiating. Inurnment will follow at 1:30 p.m. at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis.
All are welcome to attend and celebrate Jack’s life. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Jack’s name.
Arrangements are under the care of Fidler-Roberts & Isburg Funeral Chapel of Sundance. Online condolences may be written at www.fidler-isburgfuneralchapels.com