Kenneth Eugene Spencer, 78, born Dec. 22, 1937, passed away Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016, at St. Louis University Hospital, St. Louis, Mo., from complications from heart and lung disease and a brain bleed, following a fall in November.
Kenneth graduated from E. St. Louis Senior High School with the class of June 1955, went on to SIU-C where he earned a BS in Applied Science in 1959, then continued his education at the former Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy at Rolla, Mo., where he taught Mechanical Engineering courses and obtained a BS in Mechanical Engineering (1961) and a Master of Science also in Mechanical Engineering (1964). After teaching at the university from 1959 through 1967 he was employed in Granite City, Ill., at General Steel Engineering for 23 years, then for American Steel Foundries for seven years prior to his retirement in 1995.
Kenneth coached his son in flag football, baseball and soccer and his daughter in soccer and softball in the Granite City area. He had been active in the Madison County Girls Soccer Association and the YMCA boys soccer programs when they were in their early years in the area. He enjoyed working with young people and followed their academic and athletic events through college. He was very proud of the adults his children had become and was enjoying participating in the activities of his two granddaughters. Education was a very important part of his life and he stressed this importance to his children and his granddaughters. He was most proud they were all honor students.
The Fraternal Order of Eagles became a most important part of his and Joanna's lives in 1970. After serving as the local Aerie President in 1989-1999 he went on to become Illinois State Aerie President in 2000-2001 and Regional (Indiana-Illinois) President in 2004-2005. He was inducted in the Grand Aerie F.O.E. International Hall of Fame in 2009. He had taken training as an agent for troubled Aeries and had counseled a number of Eagles Clubs in Illinois and Missouri. He had been named Eagle of the Year locally, selected as the outstanding Secretary of the Year and Illinois F.O.E. Hall of Fame. He was the current director of the Willoughby-DeHeve Eagle Education Fund. He and Joanna had traveled for many years representing the local Eagles at international conventions as well as regional conferences and seven-state conferences. He had been named as "honorary family members" for several State Aerie and State Auxiliary Presidents and was currently the State Engineer for State President Robert Gregonis. Kenneth was also a member of the Rolla Lodge #213 A.F. & A.M., the Litchfield Eagles #4499 and was the current Secretary of Granite City Eagles #1126 since 1995. He was a member of Nameoki Methodist Church.
the only child of Talbert E. Spencer and Norma L. Darr, He was preceded in death by his father, Talbert E. Spencer in 1945; his mother, Norma L. Darr in 2002; as well as two step-fathers, Elbert Dame in 1952 and Thomas L. Settle in 1979.
Surviving are his wife, Joanna Ruth, nee Duncan, Spencer, whom he married May 30, 1959, in Mt. Vernon, Ind. They were the proud parents of two children, Stephen E. Spencer (Joanne Rowald Spencer) of Glen Carbon, Ill., and Karen Ellen (Martin) Wright of Brodhead, Wis. They were blessed with two beautiful granddaughters who were the delight of Grandpa, Payton Lucille Wright and Melissa Maree Spencer; also surviving are brothers and sisters-in-law, T. Jeff and Helen Duncan, William R. and Rae Duncan, Sharon (the late Oscar Merrell) Duncan, Naomi and Don Schneck and Catherine Bauer; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins, Glenn Johnston of West Frankfort, Ill., Linda (Kent) Vinson, Fairfield, Ill., Keith (Chris) House of New Hampshire and J.D. Darr of Sesser, Ill.
Memorials may be made to the Eagle Education Fund and will be accepted at Irwin Funeral Home, 3960 Maryville Road.
Visitation: Visitation will be on from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 15, 2016, and from 9 a.m. until time of service Saturday, Jan. 16 at Irwin Chapel, Granite City, Ill. Eagle services will be held at 10:45 a.m. Saturday at the funeral home.
Funeral: Funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, at the funeral home. Burial will be private at a future date at Williams Chapel Cemetery in Ewing, Ill.
IRWIN CHAPEL, Granite City, Ill.
Published in Belleville News-Democrat on Jan. 12, 2016