Lamar Spencer, 95, of Pascagoula, MS, the oldest retired minister of the United Methodist Church, Alabama-West Florida Conference, went home to be with his Heavenly Father on March 12, 2013. There he joined his parents, Rev. Samuel Ernest Spencer and Rose Wimberly Spencer; four sisters - Marjorie Hildreth, Virginia Edwards, Ruby Cook, and Pearl Waldrop; and two brothers - Sam Spencer and Rev. Lester Spencer. Also there to welcome him were Rev. Charles Hildreth, William Edwards, Ernest Cook, and Everette Waldrop.
Lamar’s ministry began in 1937. Over a period of 45 years in the Alabama-West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church, he served the following churches: Daleville Methodist Church, Elizabeth Chapel Methodist Church in Milton, Highland Gardens Methodist Church in Montgomery, Columbia Methodist Church, First Methodist Church of Prichard, East Tallassee Methodist Church, Bonifay Methodist Church, First Methodist Church of Hartford, Trinity Methodist Church of Phenix City, First Methodist Church of Greensboro, Chickasaw Methodist Church, First United Methodist Church of Crestview, Forest Park United Methodist Church of Panama City, and First United Methodist Church of Atmore. After retiring, he served the Dauphin Island United Methodist Church for nine years for a total of 54 years of service.
During his time in active ministry Rev. Spencer served on various boards of the Alabama-West Florida Conference. These included the Board of Education, the Board of Ministries and the Board of Retired Ministers, serving as chairman for the latter two. He also served in other capacities, such as camp counselor, workshop teacher, and leader of youth assembly groups. Being a master of finances and funding, he led in the building of many church and educational buildings, dedicating them prior to leaving the service of each church. He also inspired many present-day Methodist pastors to enter into ministry and helped guide them through the educational process.
It was while he was serving Prichard Methodist Church that Lamar met and married his beloved wife of 69 years, Betty. Upon retiring from active ministry, Lamar and Betty moved to Pascagoula, MS, to live near their son, David, and his family. There they became involved with their grandsons’ baseball, soccer, Cub Scouts, and swimming.
Lovingly remembered as “Mar” by his grandsons and great-grandchildren, Lamar rode his bicycle along the beach and picked up cans to sell as his “second mile giving fund”, contributing to local people and groups who were trying to spread the Word of God by helping others in need. He also volunteered with the American Red Cross, worked the election polls, worked for 15 years as an auxiliary volunteer at Singing River Hospital, was a faithful member of the Crusaders Sunday School Class at First United Methodist Church of Pascagoula, and starred on television as the “Old Reliable” whittler in the Foster’s Air-Conditioning & Heating advertisement.
Lamar is survived by his wife, Elizabeth “Betty” Krueger Spencer; his son, Dr. David L. (Mary) Spencer of Pascagoula, MS; his three grandsons, Dr. David L. (Amy) Spencer, Jr. of Ocean Springs, MS, Dr. James C. (Anke) Spencer of Madison, MS, and Edward Spencer of Auburn, AL; and his five great-grandchildren, Brannon Spencer, Taylor Spencer, Samuel Spencer, Johannes Spencer, and Luisa Spencer. Also to mourn Lamar’s death is his sister, Ernestine, and other members of the Spencer and Krueger families. He will be sadly missed.
A celebration of life service will be held at First United Methodist Church, 2710 Pascagoula Street, Pascagoula, MS, on March 15, 2013, at 10:00 AM with visitation for one hour prior to the service. Burial will be at Memorial Gardens in Mobile, AL, following the funeral service.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Lamar Spencer Endowed Scholarship Fund at Huntingdon College, 1500 East Fairview Avenue, Montgomery, AL, 36106.