Being Memorial Day..., and I have been posting stories that involve my Dad..., I thought it fitting that I post his obituary from last year here.
Alexander R. Spence, 79, Weippe
Born: Aug. 23, 1929
Died: Aug. 07, 2009
The spoken phrase, “Hello, I'm That Good Lookin' Al Spence,” will be spoken never again by the man who coined and used it throughout most of his life. Al has passed on to be with his beloved wife Wanda in the hereafter. The one and only time he ever referred to himself as something other than “young and good lookin' “ was when he described himself as “…an old, homely, older-than-dirt husband… “ when he wrote Wanda's obituary in November 2006. It was a true measure of the depth of the loss he felt.
Al was born in Ellensburg, Wash., to Alexander Spence and Ethel Vanderkar Spence, both deceased. The family, including sisters Ethel Pollillo of Kennewick and Mary Ann Chapman of Weippe, and half-sisters Ione Jones Layman, deceased, and Elna Jones Marner, deceased, moved to Weippe shortly thereafter and Al spent most of his life there.
While still in his teenage years, Al took a job horse packing for Steve Russell at the Lochsa Lodge near the Idaho-Montana border and Lolo Pass. The experience was one of his fondest memories and he reminisced about them on a recent road trip to that location with his two sons, Scott R. of Forks, Wash., and Larry of Weippe.
Al was drafted into the Army in 1950 and served in California and Germany. Before being deployed overseas, he married Wanda Kautz, on July 7, 1951, in San Luis Obispo, Calif. Their marriage lasted a life-time and Al was at her bedside when she passed away.
When he returned to Weippe he worked for Potlatch as a cat skinner, and participated in the Clearwater Log Drive featured in the July 1951 issue of the National Geographic magazine. In the later 1950s, he bought his own dozer and became a contract logger. He continued to build his logging operation until the call of the north took him to Alaska and the pipeline project in the 1970s. When he returned to Weippe he sold the logging operation, bought a small ranch, and became the cowboy he always wanted to be. He ran his cattle-raising operation until an auto accident in the early 1990s. The injuries slowed him down physically and he could not continue the practice.
Al leaves three grandchildren, Keith Spence of Lewiston, A.J. Spence of Lewiston and Bert Spence of Weippe; two adopted grandchildren, Brianne Page of Sandpoint, Idaho, and Stacy Petty of Fort Hood, Texas; and three great-grandchildren.
Al will be cremated and no services are planned. Surviving family members ask only that he be always remembered as, “That Good Lookin' Al Spence”.