Dennis Charles Spencer, 77, passed away peacefully on Friday, November 3, 2023 surrounded by loved ones and under the gentle care of Arkansas Hospice.
Born in Monticello, Arkansas on January 23, 1946 to parents Jack and Betty, Dennis grew up loving the outdoors and spending time with his younger brother Doug. He had a boyish grin, a wild spirit, and a love of learning. After his parents’ divorce he lived in Little Rock with his mother and brother and attended Central High School, where he played football and enjoyed being a teenager. His mother remarried and had two more sons, who Dennis loved dearly.
Dennis became a father while briefly married just after high school, welcoming his first of five daughters. He pursued an education at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, where he lived for several years and attained a double masters degree in science and engineering. In Fayetteville, he gave his life to the Lord and served on staff at University Baptist Church while completing his studies. His work as a chemical engineer took him to Little Rock, where he met his true love, Marilyn. They married in 1976, and he became a father to her daughter from a previous marriage. They lived a romantic life and had three more daughters together. His work took them abroad to Western Australia for almost six years. His time spent there near the magnificent Indian Ocean with his family was idyllic. He enjoyed countless swims in the ocean, camping, fishing, and balancing work and enjoyment in his daily routine.
He transitioned to working in Beaver, Pennsylvania for three years, where he led music at a small church, and enjoyed cool summer nights, days of tracking and hunting deer in the beautiful woods, and shoveling snow. He and the family moved to Kingwood, Texas in 1989, where he eventually retired after years of dedicated work as a chemical engineer. He loved serving in many ways at Kingwood First Baptist Church, tutoring reading students, and serving as a Gideon. Dennis devoted hours of his days to listening to and reading the Bible, and praying for his family, his church family, and the world.
He and his wife moved back to Arkansas in 2006 to spend time with children and grandchildren in their beloved home state, where they attended Immanuel Baptist Church.
Dennis loved the Arkansas Razorbacks, sunrises and sunsets, clear starry nights, fast cars like his 1985 Ford Mustang GT, and above all else, people. He appreciated both routine and elevating the experience of the mundane. He had an exceptional memory, calculated numbers like a machine, and never missed an opportunity to be generous to those he encountered. One of the highlights of each year was gathering with his extended family at his brother Doug’s house in Warren, Arkansas.
His work and personal travels took him to many areas, including Australia, Great Britain, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Egypt, Israel, Greece, Italy, Argentina, Brazil, Gaza, China, and Senegal. He loved meeting new people and sharing his joy with so many across the world.
In his final months, he cherished spending time with his family, including special visits from all of his daughters, hugs from his grandchildren, taking walks, and interacting with staff at his favorite local restaurants. He loved expressing gratitude and encouragement to anyone he encountered, and even did so with his caregivers, doctors, and nurses in his last days. He was a blessing to many and his legacy of love, generosity, and kindness will continue to impact lives.
Dennis was preceded in death by his father Jack L. Spencer, his stepmother Rosalyn Spencer, his stepfather Jack “Coogan” Sample, his mother Betty Sample, and his brother Michael Sample.
Dennis is survived by his dear wife Marilyn Spencer; his daughter Michelle Wilson of San Marcos, Texas, his daughter Kelly Spencer of Perth, Western Australia, his daughter Rebekah (Joe) Beber of Little Rock, Arkansas, his daughter Sarah (Cade) Shera of Little Rock, Arkansas, and his daughter Rachel (Harry) Golden of Roland, Arkansas; his grandchildren Jonathan Brittain of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Daniel Brittain of Perth, Western Australia, Laura Brittain of Perth, Western Australia, and his grandchildren in Central Arkansas: Elisabeth Bryant, Spencer Bryant, AnnMarie Golden, Ruth Shera, and Caroline Golden; and his great grandsons Thomas Brittain and Harry Brittain of Bunbury, Western Australia; his brother Doug (Debbie) Spencer, his brother Sam (Stacey) Sample, his nephew Mark (Kristy) Spencer, his niece Cindy (Jason) Langston, his nephew Justin Sample, his niece Makayla Sample, his niece Caty (Jordan) Young, his nephew Josh Sample, and many cousins who he loved so dearly.
Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m. on Tuesday, November 7, 2023 at Smith Funeral Home (8801 Knoedl Court). A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, November 8, 2023 at Immanuel Baptist Church (501 North Shackelford), with burial immediately following at Lacey Cemetery near Monticello, Arkansas.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in honor of Dennis to Arkansas Hospice, or to anyone you encounter in need, as he generously gave to many during his lifetime.