In memory of dad we miss you already

Surrounded by family in Pacific Palisades, California, our beloved father, Donald David Spence Sr., passed peacefully to heaven on December 27, 2016 at the age of 91.

Dad loved the outdoors and he loved taking long hikes in the country.

He especially loved spending time at Ron's cabin at Bear Lake.

This rustic get-away holds many fun memories for dad and our family

Dad loved to take his dog, Tippy, for a walk around the Bear Lake neighborhood. When he heard something rustling in the brush behind him, he turned around to see a moose staring him in the eyes.

After that nose to nose encounter with a moose, Dad took much shorter walks at Bear Lake. LOL

After Mom passed away, Steve and I took Dad on a vacation to the UK, Scotland, Wales and to Paris, France.

He enjoyed taking hikes in the English countryside

When we got to Bath, England, we discovered our flat was on a six story "walk-up" with no elevator. The stairs seemed endless and we laughed all the way to our room. After we settled in, we hiked back down the stairs to go to dinner. As we reached the last stair, Dad turned around and told Steve, "I think I left my cap in the room. Can you go back upstairs and get it for me?" The look on Steve's face was priceless as we burst out laughing.

Bath, England is known for its natural mineral baths. After going up and down six flights of stairs, several times, we needed a soak. ha ha

Speaking of baths...

Dad loved to use baby oil on his skin in the shower because he said it made his skin stay young looking and soft. So when he came to visit us when we lived in Oregon, he used our shower and lathered up with his usual baby oil regimen. Later in the morning my unsuspecting husband had to use the shower and all was going well until I heard a crash, bang, bang and a painful yelp. It was Steve yelling, "Hey Kim, did you use something different in the shower? It's so slippy" When I walked in, there was Steve laying on the floor of the shower with his feet in the air like a twisted pretzel. That's when I knew the baby oil (leftover from Dad's morning shower) made the shower floor slippy like an ice skating rink. We laughed about that for years. We'll miss you Dad and all of your crazy fads, remedies and natural treatments. (Steve still walks a little funny after that fall LOL)

Dad loved his adventures

Early on, Dad was a WWII vet. He enlisted in the Marine Corps and served in the South Pacific, 1942 - 1945.

He married the love of his life, Renetta Mae Hayes, on June 21, 1944.

They were high school sweethearts and stayed together for 55 years until Mom passed away in '99.

Mom was a fantastic dancer and Dad couldn't dance at all. She performed the jitterbug and all of the popular dances of their time. Dad always wanted Mom to teach him how to dance, but he said Mom never would. Reunited again, I imagine she is finally teaching him how to dance on a sea of heavenly stars.

They had three boys and a little girl who was the apple in her Daddy's eyes.
It was fun growing up in the countryside with three older brothers and three chipmunks. Some of Dad's fondest family memories were on Leger Road in Pennsylvania. Mine too.
Dad, Mom and me on our side yard in Leger Road
See a family resemblance? LOL One of our relatives was an inspector for a major airline and had many UFO stories to share with our family. Or maybe they were just seeing Santa Claus in the sky!

Throughout the years, Dad played the role of Santa. He worked with Sears to give tens of thousands of dollars worth of shoes and clothing to families in need within the poorest regions of the Appalachian Mountains. For some of the poorest children, it was the first time they ever had a single pair of shoes.

He also helped his church with donations and provided summer jobs for many of the young college kids to help them pay for school costs

He had a jolly old laugh and wore the Santa suit well, except for when....

...he was dressed up as Santa to deliver presents to a family in our church that experienced some hard times. As he knocked on the door and the carolers began to sing, he realized at that moment that his suspenders broke loose. Just as the door opened and he handed the sack of presents to the family with a hardy "ho ho ho", his pants dropped down to his ankles. Without a beat, he yanked up his drawers and shouted "I just wanted to give you a Christmas to remember." And everyone laughed in good cheer.

Every year I decorate a Santa tree in Dad's honor to remind myself how he helped so many throughout the years with his kindness and heartfelt generosity. In lieu of flowers, I listed the Christian Appalachian Project as a wonderful charity to support in Dad's honor.

In November, our family gathered for Dad's 91st Birthday

We took Dad to the Festival of Trees in St. George, Utah. This was our last family photo together.
A few birthday and Christmas memories from recent years

Dad blew out a lot of candles over the years and we are grateful for the many wonderful years we had together

He was never without his little dog, Tippy. She was always by his side.
The nuts don't fall far from the tree in our family

Walking a country mile with dad...


I think what I'll miss most is just picking up the phone to hear his voice to see how he's doing. I comfort myself by thinking that he is back with his sweetheart and that someday we will see each other again along with all of our loved ones.

Together Again

Imagine mom is finally giving dad those dance lessons and they are dancing with the stars...

For Memorial Service Details

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