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Avery H. Speer

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Avery H. Speer Obituary
June 24, 1930 - July 8, 2017
Retired physician and long-time Riverside resident, Avery Hardin Speer died on July 8, 2017 at the age of 87. He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Barbara Speer; his two daughters, Robin Speer of Riverside, Kelly Hatfield (Rob) of Colorado Springs; his three step-daughters, Ellen Hetman (Robert) of Woodland Hills, Marjorie Dahlberg (Scott) of Redlands, and Marilyn Best of Corona; 16 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren. Avery Speer was preceded in death by his parents Robert and Loraine (Hayward) Speer, and his sister, Helen (Speer) Wirth of Riverside.
Avery was born on June 24, 1930 in El Centro, California, but moved to Riverside when he was five years old. He attended Riverside schools including Poly High School from which he graduated in 1948. While there, he played baritone under the great Lester Oaks. He graduated with honors from RCC and the University of Redlands, and received his medical degree in the second graduating class of UCLA Medical School in 1956. He continued his love of music playing piano in dance bands to put himself through medical school.
He joined the department of Internal Medicine at the Riverside Medical Clinic where he served the community from 1961 to 1998. In the 1970's, Dr. Speer volunteered with the Youth Service Center at All Saints Episcopal Church. In addition, he gave of his time as Medical Director of Riverside Hospice in the 1980's.
Dr. Speer also served the community of Grace United Methodist Church as organist and choir director for many decades until the time of his death. Outside the church, Dr. Speer shared his gift of music with the performing arts students of Ramona High School for 14 years. Another passion, that of hiking and backpacking, culminated in the achievement of a lifelong dream - completing the moonlight ascent of Mt. Whitney with his family to watch the sun rise from the summit - at age 76.
A memorial service celebrating Avery's life will be held Saturday, July 22 at 10:00 am at Grace United Methodist Church, 1085 W Linden Street in Riverside, CA. In honor of his life of music, and in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Grace United Methodist Church Music Fund.
Published in Press-Enterprise on July 16, 2017
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