John Riley Spencer, age 85, of Broken Arrow, OK, died at home on May 17, 2019. He was born on June 24, 1933, to David E. and Effa Jewel (Walker) Spencer in Edmond, OK. He was the third of three children. His brother John David Spencer was born and died in 1920. His sister, May-Belle Spencer Arnold was their next child.
John grew up in Coal County, Oklahoma, and graduated from Coalgate High School in 1951. He graduated from Oklahoma A&M College in 1955 with a Bachelor’s degree in accounting. He went to work for the Internal Revenue Service as Internal Revenue Agent in 1962 and retired in 1989. During that time, he instructed 12 tax law classes for Revenue Agents. He also served as a group manager and for half of his career, John served as Team Coordinator in the Large Case Examination Program. Following retirement, he was self-employed, doing financial, tax, and estate planning. He published a Handbook for United Methodist Ministers which he used during minister tax seminars. He turned in his professional certificates in 2002. During his service with the IRS, he received numerous awards and commendations.
John served in the Army (active and reserves) from October 1954 to June 1993 at which time he was transferred to the Retired Reserves. During his active duty time he was the Propulsion Specialist on the Corporal Guided Missile where he was stationed at Ft. Bliss, TX and Zweibrucken West Germany. John attained the enlisted rank of Master Sergeant and was commissioned Warrant Officer W-1 in 1968 at the time he became an accredited Special Agent, U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command. Upon his retirement in 1993, John had risen to the rank of Chief Warrant Officer W-4. In February 1994, John was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for Meritorious Service as a Citizen Soldier, the highest award in the Army Reserves.
Following graduation from Oklahoma A&M College, he married Susan Kay Thorn-ham on August 11, 1956. They were blessed with four sons: John David, Robert, James, and Todd. John David died of meningitis in 1959 at the age of 14 months.
John was predeceased by his parents, son John David, brother John David, and sister May-Belle. He is survived by his wife Susan; son Robert, a physician in Denver, CO; James an architect in Dallas, TX; and Todd a United Methodist Minister in Colorado Springs, CO. He is also survived by six grandchildren: Matthew, Madeline, Bobby, Brenna, Lukas, and Ethan all of whom he enjoyed visiting and spoiling during his retirement years. He loved the name his grandchildren called him, Buddy. He is also survived by his niece Alena Jo Gleason.
During the years that his sons were growing up, John was active with them in scouting, Y-Indian Guides and supporting their programs in United Methodist Youth Fellowship at St. Stephens UMC in Broken Arrow, OK. From the time he and his family moved to Broken Arrow in 1972, John served St. Stephens in many offices and as Sunday School teacher. Following retirement from the IRS, he was accepted into membership of the Oklahoma Society of Public Accountants. He and Susan were members of the National Association of Active and Retired Federal Employees, Tulsa Day-Lite Chapter 2184 where he served as President, Vice President, and Chaplain.
John was a member of the Broken Arrow, OK American Legion Post 110 where he served as Chaplain for many years.
Besides traveling, John enjoyed working in his woodworking shop and tinkering. Broken appliances and whatever, were a challenge to meet and overcome.
Burial will be 10:00 am, Thursday, May 23, 2019 at Ft. Gibson National Cemetery. Memorial services will be held Saturday, June 15, 2019 at 2:00 pm at St. Stephens United Methodist Church with Rev. Dr. Kirtley Moelling officiating. Viewing was on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 at Hayhurst Funeral Home from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm.
Memorials may be made to United Methodist Circle of Care % St. Stephens UMC, 400 W. New Orleans, Broken Arrow, OK 74011.