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Obituary for William E. Spencer

Born: October 16th, 1930
Passed Away: March 10th, 2017


Dr. William E. Spencer, more often known as "Bill," 86, formerly of Dowagiac, Michigan, died on Friday, March 10, in Muskegon, Michigan.

He was born on October 16, 1930, in Belding, Michigan, to Eva Mae (Corbett) and Sigmund William Spencer and greeted by two sisters, Margaret and Beatrice, all of whom preceded him in death.

On January 31, 1953, he married his forever love, Josephine "Joie" V. O'Connor, in Ionia, Michigan. They welcomed two daughters, Katherine Ann and Karen Marie, into their lives, creating a happy family that loved traveling (especially to Ireland), camping, reading, telling stories, and singing "Hail to the Victors." They survive along with his much-admired son-in-law, Greg Griffis, his adored grandchildren Kate and Spencer, and a multitude of nephews and nieces who loved him completely and to whom much love and encouragement were given in return.

A true lifelong learner, Bill earned a Bachelors degree from Central Michigan University, a Masters degree from the University of Michigan, and a doctorate from Wayne State University. His career was devoted to education, beginning with his position as a history teacher at Marysville High School in Marysville, Michigan. He then became a history professor and department chair at Highland Park Community College in Highland Park, Michigan. From 1970 until 1985 he served as Vice President for Instruction at Southwestern Michigan College. Even in retirement Bill continued to teach part time and to advocate for education at all levels.

Bill was an Army veteran of the Korean War and a member of the Rotary Club, the National Council of Instructional Administrators , and the Irish Historical Society.

In accordance with his wishes, Bill has been cremated with internment in Muskegon to follow later. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Sanctuary at the Oaks Employee Emergency Fund, c/o Karen Spencer, Bott and Spencer, PO Box 419, Muskegon, Michigan 49441 or Harbor Hospice of Muskegon, Michigan, two organizations that made the end stages of his struggle with Parkinson's disease so much more bearable.