Life Story / Obituary
Darrell Frederick Spencer
Born October 11, 1925
Passed March 26, 2018
Darrell Frederick Spencer, 92, of Northport, Michigan, passed away peacefully on the eveningof March 26 while surrounded by family and loved ones. He is survived by Suzanne (Sue), hisloving wife of 70 years, and five children in Dennis (wife Dawn) of Brighton, Michigan, Deborah of Traverse City, Douglas (wife Caroline) of Madison, Wisconsin, Dottie of Traverse City, and David (wife Karen) of Traverse City. He was also grandpa to 13 grandchildren in Mollie, Kelly, Patrick, Emily, Katie, Kelcie, Bradley, Charlie, Austin, Connor, Ian, Sophie and Maggie, and four great grandchildren in Lennon, Jameson, Shiloh and Robin.
Born in Portland, Oregon on October 11, 1925 to James and Margaret Ann Spencer, Darrell was an only child whose love of family would come to define him throughout his life. After a few years in Portland, the Spencer’s moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota where they persevered through the difficult and trying conditions brought upon the country by the 1930s and the Great Depression. As a child he enjoyed fishing and archery among other activities. After leaving Minneapolis, the family moved to Elgin, Illinois where his dad Jim worked for Toastmaster and Darrell attended and graduated from Elgin high school. In 1944, Darrell enlisted in the Army Air Corps and spent time training as a tail gunner in a B-17 in Arizona, Alaska and at Truax Field in Madison, Wisconsin prior to the end of World War II.
After being honorably discharged from the service, Darrell attended Michigan State University, earning a bachelor’s degree in 1950 in the fields of geology and archaeology. While at MSU, he was active in the Sigma Chi fraternity and met his future bride, Suzanne, who was the national “Sweetheart of Sigma Chi”, co-editor of the MSU yearbook and a member of Pi Phi Sorority. In 1949, they welcomed their first child (Dennis).
After college, Darrell and Suzanne moved to Elgin, Illinois where he worked for JC Penny and announced the birth of their second child (Deborah) in 1950. In 1953, Douglas was born in East Lansing prior to the family heading west.
In 1953-54, Darrell and his family lived in White Canyon, Utah in a small trailer park while he worked for the Atomic Energy Commission hunting for uranium and the United States Geological Society as a geologist. In 1954, he moved his family to Grand Junction, Colorado to work for Colorado Oil and Gas and where daughter Dorothy was born. In 1959, his career took the family to Liberal, Kansas where their fifth child, David was born, and then on to Denver, Colorado.
After leaving Denver, the seven Spencer’s headed east to settle in Westport, Connecticut in the early 1960s while Darrell worked for AMF. In the mid-60s, the family moved to West Bloomfield, Michigan where Darrell spent two decades in the industrial chemical business. Following his retirement, Darrell and Sue moved to Cathead Point near Northport, where they enjoyed life on the Lake Michigan waterfront.
Throughout his life, Darrell loved to travel, with he and Sue visiting the likes of Italy, Greece, Alaska, Norway, Turkey and Ireland, where traced his family (Barron) roots and visited numerous Irish towns. His favorite two cities in the world were Florence, Italy and Vancouver, BC.
Darrell’s passion for geology, archaeology, art, aviation (that beloved Cessna Hawk XP), musicand astronomy were evident to all who knew him and those passions have been passed on to his children and grandchildren. He also loved his Michigan State football and basketball teams, the Detroit Red Wings, taking fishing trips to Canada, watching the Blue Angels perform in Traverse City over the July 4th weekend, and golf tournaments and he attended several Indianapolis 500s with his sons. But it was always family above all else for Darrell, and his vibrant personality, strength, character and inspiration will endure in his family forever. We will miss you everyday Dad. God bless.
Please visit www.lifestorytc.com to sign the guestbook and share your thoughts and memories with the family. A gathering for friends to celebrate Darrell’s life will be announced at a later date through www.lifestorytc.com. The family chose Life Story Funeral Home, Traverse City.