I never thought that at 51 years old, I would be saying “goodbye for now” to my dad, Al Spencer. Dad was 83 years old when he went to be with the Lord on December 12, 2007, but he never seemed like he was 83. Now, I can’t believe he has been gone 15 long years. Dad told me once that after you reach 18, you never feel any older. I’m sure there are people who would disagree with that statement, but I believe that it is statements like that made by people who truly believe it, that allow them to stay young. Dad always seemed young to me…right up until he left us. Even after surgery and a very long, drawn out recovery, he still seemed young, or maybe young at heart. He loved to tease his girls and the grandchildren, who loved to run past his chair to see if they were quick enough to get by before Grandpa could swat them. Mostly they were too slow, but they were delighted when they got away with it. Dad was always making jokes, and it really made his day when he could make people laugh. He loved having a house filled with joy.
My dad lived an amazing life. He was raised on a farm in the Holyoke, Minnesota area. He went on a number of trips with his older brother, looking for work in the depression years, and then went to California to work for Douglas Aircraft. It really seems that it was this move that would bring him to his World War II destiny. After spending time building planes for Douglas Aircraft Company, the Army Air Forces saw in my dad, that he would be the perfect Flight Engineer and Top Turret Gunner on a B-17 crew, and that was how he spent his wartime service, stationed in Great Ashfield, Suffolk, England. While he never really spoke about it, my mom, Collene Spencer and sisters, Cheryl Masterson, Caryl Reed, Alena Stevens, Allyn Hadlock, and I have always been so proud of him and his service.
Dad traveled to other countries, but in his opinion, the United States was the best country in the whole world, although I’m sure he would have loved to have seen Israel. Dad took our family on yearly vacations…every year, without fail, so we could see what a wonderful country we lived in. My mom, sisters, and I were treated to so many places, with the Black Hills being one of his favorites. He loved the beauty of the area, but more importantly, he loved the patriotism of the area. After his passing, when my husband Bob and I went to the Black Hills for our annual trip to the area, I always felt like I could hear my dad’s echo telling us about the area, and how proud he was to be an American. I like to think of him there, because it was one of the places where he was the happiest.
Dad loved God, family, and country. He was a true Christian, and wonderful husband and dad, and he was a true patriot. He was raised in church, and he and our mom raised their girls in the church. We know who we are, and we know that our God loves us, just like He loves our parents. Now that our parents live in Heaven, I know that they are watching over us and we try to live lives that we know will make them proud. We all miss then terribly, but we know that they are in our future now, and not in our past. We look forward to seeing them again soon. We love you both Dad and Mom, and we wish you were still here.