SPENCER, William H., William "Sonny" Spencer, 76, of Ruskin, FL, passed away peacefully sur-rounded by his 3 daughters on Tuesday, May 13, 2014. Born in Chicago, IL on October 13, 1937 to Agnes and Bill Spencer, the family soon moved to his truee hometown of Ruskin, FL, where Sonny settled and lived a "big life". Sonny attended Ruskin Elementary and Wimauma High School where he played basketball and football. Throughout his youth, he helped his Dad on the farm where they grew tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables. This was the beginning of a long and successful career as a farmer in Ruskin, the "Tomato Capital of the World". In 1957 he joined the Army and served his country for almost 2 years before being honorably discharged to be back on the farm with his Dad. He also played on the semi-professional football team during that time. Sonny was a well-known, generous and outgoing member of the Ruskin community and a leader in the agricultural community. At 6'5", Sonny lit up the room when he entered with his charming charisma and smile. There wasn't a place he could go where someone didn't know him. He was a friend to all. In fact, in 1966, he was recognized as the "Honorary Mayor of Ruskin". His biggest impact in life was fathering his children. Of all of his great accomplishments and blessings, fatherhood was his greatest. He was an amazing provider, protector and source of strength. He is survived by his 3 loving daughters, Tonya Spencer Hills (Jeff), Sunni Dawn and Misty Ann and son Michael Jason Sweat. He also had the blessing of fathering Lisa Lynn Elsberry Apen. He was also a loving grandfather to Haley Dawn, Spencer "Alex", Hannah Noelle, Austin Spencer, Hudson Spencer, Hope Elizabeth Hills, & Courtney Michelle, Gage Michael, Blake Shooter Sweat. He is also survived by his baby sister, Josie Agliano (John), and predeceased by his sister June Parent (Rod and Lisa) and his devoted and loving parents William "Bill" and Agnes "Gaga" Spencer. There will be a celebration of Sonny's life with family and friends on Friday, May 16th at the Ruskin United Methodist Church located at 105 4th Ave NW, Ruskin, FL 33570. Gathering in memory will be from 1PM-2PM, with celebration of life following at 2PM. Services entrusted to Brewer & Sons South Tampa Chapel 813-835-4991 - To sign online memorial, visit brewerfuneral.com
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Published in TBO.com on May 15, 2014