Godfrey Melville (G.M.) “Bud” Spencer of Topeka, Kansas passed away on Tuesday, January 14, 2020 from natural causes while surrounded by family and in the care of Midland Hospice. He was 96 years old. Bud was born on August 12, 1923 in Fort Scott, Kansas to Harry O. and Mildred (Melville) Spencer. The family spent time in Sioux City, Iowa, and Marshall, Missouri, before settling in Topeka, where Bud would complete high school in 1941 and call home for his entire adult life.
He attended Washburn University, but was drafted into the Army in 1943. After 29 days of service to his country, he was medically discharged. Bud then returned to Washburn and was initiated into Kappa Sigma Fraternity Gamma Nu Chapter (1943). He went on to complete his bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering at Kansas State University (formerly Kansas State College of Agriculture and Applied Science), graduating in May 1949.
While at KSU, a sorority and fraternity dance served as the introduction to his future bride, Muriel Jean “Becky” Becker. The couple were married on May 18, 1946 and went on to raise two sons and two daughters. After 62 years of marriage, Becky died in 2008. Bud’s time at KSU also established his love for the Wildcats sports teams, which remained part of his life forever. He enjoyed football season tickets for 51 consecutive seasons, rarely missing a game; and, even attended six games this season at 96 years of age.
Bud both commenced and retired (1989) his 40-year engineering career at the same family-owned business in Topeka. Initially known as Ernest Engineering, the company eventually became Ernest Spencer Engineering, Inc., then Ernest/Spencer, Inc. and finally Ernest/Spencer Metals, Inc. It continues to be owned and operated today by his loving grandson, Neal Spencer.
Bud was a dedicated hobbyist who was rarely idle, spending much of his free time pursuing these passions. He earned a pilot’s license and flew his Pipe Cherokee 235 throughout Kansas, Nebraska, Eastern Colorado and Oklahoma on company business. In retirement, his lifelong skill for woodwork matured, and he built many beautiful structures for his family, alma mater, and church. Much of his handiwork still remains in use at Trinity Presbyterian Church, where he was a member for 61 years. As a railway enthusiast, he also invested many hours in designing an extensive model train layout in his basement, and explored North America on several cross-country train trips.
Above all else, Bud was a kind and humble family man who was loved by all and known for his gentle, positive spirit. He was happiest in his home of nearly 50 years, and wished to live out his final years there, which he did. While he will be deeply missed, his family is comforted to know his body is youthful and eternally functional at home with his Heavenly Father.
Bud was preceded in death by his wife Becky, son Bradford, great grandson Ryan Nolan, his parents, and his siblings, Jacqueline Betty Gaumer and Harry O. Spencer, Jr. He is survived by three children and their spouses, Beverly Dee Diaz and her husband Gary (Tulsa, Oklahoma), Barbara Diane King and her husband John (Winter Park, Florida) and Douglas Melville Spencer and his wife Laurie (Orlando, Florida), as well as his late son’s wife Sharon Spencer (Lake Ozark, Missouri), and his dear friend Peggy Palmer (Topeka). He is also survived by five grandchildren, Neal Spencer (Topeka), Brian King (Winter Park, Florida), Anthony King (Maitland, Florida), Janelle Williamson (Topeka), and Scott King (Maitland, Florida), as well as ten great grandchildren, Elsie, Layla, and Emmett Spencer; Bradley and Braylon Williamson; Madison, Spencer, Tate, Carson, and Eli King.
The family will greet friends during a visitation from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 16, 2020 at Penwell-Gabel Cremations, Funerals and Receptions, 1321 SW 10th Ave, Topeka, 66604.
A funeral ceremony will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, January 17, 2020 at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 4746 SW 21st St, Topeka, 66604. Burial to immediately follow at Memorial Park Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Topeka Rescue Mission, 600 N. Kansas Ave, Topeka, Kansas, 66608.
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