Donald L. Spencer (1954 - 2016)

Obituary
  • "happy birthday in heaven Don. We miss you."
  • "I just find out Don has left us. I am so sorry. He was a..."
    - Mary Ann Clarno
  • "Don was the very best at everything he did. He was the best..."
    - Carol
  • " Can't believe he's gone. He was always the healthy one ...."
    - Bob Brittian
  • "Fair winds and powder skies my friend. I will cherish and..."
    - Chris Ross

Don was born in San Diego, Calif., on July 25, 1954, to his mother, Belva Spencer, and his father, Wesley Spencer. He grew up in Fairbanks, Alaska, where he learned to love the outdoors from his grandfather, Laurence, and his father, Wes, and his stepfather, Ham Schrengost. There was not a weekend or summer that Don was not out exploring. His adventures took him anywhere from the family's cabin on the Salcha river, where he learned to drive a boat, to every other nook and cranny of interior Alaska. Don became an avid outdoorsman, hunter, boater, fisherman, trap shooter and a true Alaska adventurer. There is nowhere that Don felt more at home than in the Alaska wilderness. He joined the Army in 1973, and traveled throughout Europe ,earning several awards and accommodations for his service while a member of the 11th Armored Calvary Regiment and as a member of the Army band. He was awarded rare special citations from the German Army for his shooting abilities while training with their units and also became fluent in the German language while stationed there. Don quickly worked his way up to a sergeant's rank and was a well-respected member of our armed services. In 1976, Don returned to Alaska, and found his life long career with Xerox. Don loved the technical challenges and the customer interaction he was presented with while working for Xerox for 39 years. He took pride in doing his job to the best of his ability. He loved spending time with his children on the rivers of Alaska. Every weekend, as his children were growing up, they could be found on the jet boat heading to Lake Creek, fishing on the Kenai or exploring the creeks and rivers in between. He taught both his children everything he knew about fishing, hunting and exploring the state that he loved so much. Don become active in youth hockey associations as his son became involved in the sport. He made sure he did everything he could to contribute to the league and was always willing to chip in. He was always there for those dreaded 5 a.m. practices, no matter how tired he was. In 1993, Don joined the National Ski Patrol at Alyeska Resort and has been on the patrol ever since. He loved being on the mountain, helping people in any way he could. During his time on the patrol, he worked his way up to take on the position of Director of the Volunteer Patrol and in 2008 was named the national Outstanding Patrol Representative. This was a position he took very seriously and had great pride in. In his family and friends eyes, Don will always be a part of Alyeska. Every Wednesday, Don could be found at the trap shooting walk through at the Birchwood range. He loved spending guy-time ragging on his friends at the range. Don married his wife, Carolyn Jochens, in 2015, and even though it was a short- lived marriage, the time they spent together was the happiest and most at peace his family and friends had witnessed for Don. She brought love and serenity to his life. His family could not have been happier that he was able to spend the time that he did with her. Don was preceded in death by his grandfather, Laurence Christie; grandmother, Bessie Christie; and his father, Wesley Spencer. He leaves behind his wife, Carolyn Spencer; his mother, Belva Spencer; brother, Curtis Spencer; daughter, Beth Spencer; son, Kurt Spencer; and his grandchildren, Braydan Day, McKenna Day and Colt Spencer. There is not a corner of Alaska that Don had not fished, hunted or explored during his 61 years. His life may have been shorter than most people would hope for, but looking back, Don lived his life more fully than most people ever do. Donations in Don's name may be sent to Alyeska Ski Patrol, c/o 5954 Katahdin, Anchorage, AK 99502. There will be a celebration of life at Challenge Alaska in Girdwood, Alaska, on April 16, 2016, at 7 p.m.
Published in Anchorage Daily News on Mar. 19, 2016
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