Billy Dean “Bill” Spencer of Yale, Illinois passed away at Newton Care Center in Newton, Illinois surrounded by his family on March 6, 2020. Bill was 90 years old.
Funeral Services will be held at 10:00 AM on Tuesday, March 10, 2020 at the Yale Church of Christ in Yale, IL. Visitation will be held from 5:00 to 8:00 PM at the Barkley Funeral Chapel in Greenup, IL. Monday evening. Burial will be in the Bethel Cemetery rural Yale, IL.
Bill was born on November 21, 1929 in a log cabin on the Clark/Jasper County line. He was one of four children born to Denzel and Dorothy (Parcel) Spencer. At age four, Bill and his family moved to a farm in Yale, Illinois where he lived and farmed for the remainder of his life. Bill attended rural Jared Grade School where he was taught by neighbor and dear friend Orell Farley, before graduating from Casey Township High School in 1947.
Bill’s grandfather, Jeremiah Amos Parcel, purchased him his first tractor as a young boy and taught him how to cultivate the land and care for his crops. After high school, Bill farmed and worked at R.I. Baker Implement in Yale. Never afraid of hard work, Bill often woke up in the early hours of the morning to care for his livestock, before heading off to a full-time job to provide for his family. Bill dearly loved his farm, and often could be found sitting under his favorite shade tree in his bib overalls enjoying his treasured homestead.
On February 4, 1950, he married Wilma Ann Whisennand. Bill met Wilma at the Yale Church of Christ where he was an active member for the remainder of his life, teaching bible study and singing loudly for all to hear. He worked at the Newton and Oblong IGA stores until he retired at age 61, returning to his first love of tiling soil along side his sons and grandsons. Bill was a member of the Robinson Saddle Club, the Jasper County Farm Bureau Board, the Yale School Board and the Yale Volunteer Fire Department. He was also the Assessor of the Grandville Township and a trustee on the township cemetery board. Bill dearly loved his family, and there was never a time that grandpa’s lap wasn’t available for rocking, laughing, and telling stories.
One of Bill’s greatest joys was saddling up his horses and heading out to the trails. Some of his most cherished memories were camping with his dear wife Wilma and going on trail rides with his grandchildren, family, and friends. He tried to make a rider out of Wilma, but after a few attempts, he decided his efforts were best used elsewhere — particularly on instilling a love of horses and riding in his grandchildren. As he grew older, he enjoyed pulling a wagon behind his team so he could still enjoy his beloved horses. There was never a ride that was too long for Bill, as he loved being outdoors and the tranquility of his land.
Bill is survived by four children, Jerry (Ruth) Spencer of Yale, Brad (Prudence) Spencer of Yale, Jim (Sue) Spencer of Yale, and Christie Wagner of Newton, sister Ruth Bell of Cahokia, sister Alice (Ted) Marrs of Hidalgo, brother in-law Karl (Ramona) Whisennand of Woodlands, Texas, and nephew Stephen Bell of Yale. He is also survived by nine grandchildren and fifteen great grandchildren: Jamie (Tim) Bradbury of Casey; Ann (Jameson) Weger of Burlington, Iowa; Sarah (Kenni) Crane of Madisonville, Kentucky; JD (Nichole) Spencer of Hidalgo; Jennifer (Ryan) Staley of Casey; Karl (Amanda) Spencer of Yale; Monica (Luke) McDaniel of Albion; Brynn (Jessica) Wagner of Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Dorothy (Jordan) Tate of St. Johns, Michigan. A great niece and nephew also survive: Amber (Kevin) Farris of Paris and Tom (Mariah) Bell of Oblong. Bill is preceded in death by his loving wife Wilma, mother Dorothy (Parcel) Spencer, father Denzel William Spencer, brother Denzel Spencer, step-sister Freda (Ruffner) Green, brother in-law Vernon Bell, sister in-law Betty (Whisennand) Wood, and son-in-law Mark Wagner.
The family would like to deeply thank the Newton Care Center for providing wonderful care to Bill during his last few years on earth, especially in his final days. Memorials may be made to the Orell Farley Foundation or the Grandville Township Cemetery.