C. WILLIAM SPENCER
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MAJOR USMC RET.
Charles William Spencer, age 65, passed away peacefully on April 3, 2013 at the UAB Medical Center with his wife and daughter by his side after a courageous battle with brain cancer for over 20 years. He was born on August 26, 1947 in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Under an NROTC scholarship, Bill graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with his BA in History and a regular commission in the USMC as a 2nd Lt. Following completion of The Marine Officer Basic School, he began his military aviation training under the US Army helicopter program at Ft. Wolters, Texas and Ft. Rucker, AL. Upon receipt of his Army Flight Wings, he reported to MCAS New River, North Carolina for pilot training in the CH-46 and concurrent training for his Wings of Gold. "Grouch", as a member of the HMM 164, participated in the squadron flight operations in support of the ground efforts in Vietnam. After his return stateside, Bill reported to NAS Meridian, Mississippi, for further training to transition as a pilot from helicopter to jet. While at MCAS Cherry Point, North Carolina, Bill flew the A-6E Intruder and TA-4F/J for many years. Official orders transferred him to VT-10, NAS Pensacola, where he served as an Instructor Pilot and the Flight/Academic Standardization Officer. It was during this assignment that "Grouch" was selected as an Instructor of the Year and received his promotion to Major. His final military assignment brought Bill back to Florida to VT- 6, NAS Whiting Field, where he served as the Operations Officer and as an Instructor Pilot, that responsibility being the most important to him. Upon retirement, Bill became a Boeing-747 Flight Engineer with TWA until the medical condition prevented him from employment in a cockpit environment.
As education and training were important, Bill returned to school, completing a BA in Special Education and an MA in Clinical Teaching. He taught as an adjunct ABE instructor at Pensacola Junior College and as an Exceptional Student Educator in Escambia County. Until his medical condition prevented him from driving, Bill worked as a Flight Simulator Operator at the Naval Aviation Museum and volunteered at the ARC Gateway Nursery. He was an active member of Holy Cross Episcopal Church serving in several ministries. While flying and teaching were important to him, Spencer was also an avid sailor, gardener, potter, woodworker, bridge-player, reader and sometimes bowler or golfer.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents, Lt. Col. Donald Eugene Spencer USMC Ret. and Ida Williams Spencer. He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Sharon (Jo) Arthur Spencer; daughter, Sara Leanne Sharratt and her husband, Shawn; granddaughter, Lillian Grace Sharratt; sister, Donna Spencer Dooley and her husband, Tom; brother, Col. Thomas W. Spencer USMC Ret. and his wife, Kennette ; special nieces, nephews, the Spencer cousins, the Arthur in-laws, and his special caregiver, Rutha B. Hardaway. Major Spencer (Mr. Bill) leaves behind many dear friends and colleagues that loved and cared for him.
A memorial service will be held at 2:00 PM on Saturday, April 27, 2013 at Holy Cross Episcopal Church, 7979 N. 9th Avenue, with the Reverend Jeff Jencks officiating. Inurnment will take place at Arlington National Cemetery later.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial gift donation to the National Brain Tumor Society, the Wounded Warrior Project, or ARC Gateway.
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Published in Pensacola News Journal on Apr. 26, 2013