The world lost a great man today. A man who was greatly respected, admired by all and loved by his friends and family. John Franklin Spencer was born on July 11, 1935 in Kaufman, Texas, to Joseph and Sarah Spencer. He was the youngest of four children in a family that included brother Fred and sisters Alice and Ruby. He was named for then Vice President John Garner and President Franklin D. Roosevelt. During his early years John grew up with a love of music. He took his inspiration from Sunday church hymns, as well as Big Band, Dixieland and Jazz. This prevailing interest would be a common thread for the remainder of his life, starting with his college education. After high school, John left Kaufman to attend East Texas State University in Commerce with the goal of making music his vocation as well as his passion. While in college, he demonstrated his talent as a trumpet player with a five-piece local band dubbed "Four Hits And A Miss", whose "Miss" was the female piano player. In addition to challenging music theory, his classes taught him proficiency in several instruments, including the baritone, tuba and French horn. His determination garnered him a Master's and Minor Degree in Music. It was around this time that John's life changed forever. He and his future wife, Glendeen Brooks, both reluctantly agreed to go on a blind date set up by friends. This rendezvous was all it took for them to realize that they were perfect for each other and that they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together. After a brief courtship, they eloped to Durant, Oklahoma and said their vows in front of a Justice Of The Peace and two friends on February 2, 1958. For the next school year, John took his new bride with him to Nixon, Texas, where he spent his first two years as the Nixon High School band director. During this period, John attended many University Of Texas football games in nearby Austin, developing a life-long enthusiasm for the Longhorns and enjoying the band's halftime show even more than the contest on the field. He recorded these excursions with a new 8-millimeter movie camera, which became a significant hobby for him. This camera would document his life and family for the next 25 years.
In 1960 John's future set a new course when he answered an ad in the paper for a band director job in the flourishing little town of Trinidad, Texas. Who would have known then the impact he would have on this community for the next 55 years? Soon after their arrival in Trinidad, John and Glendeen welcomed son Glenn into the world, the first of four children. In 1963 daughter Leslie added a little girl to the family and in 1964, son Dwayne made his entrance. The family seemed set until daughter Tangie made a surprise appearance in 1972. At school, John fulfilled all of the music education for the entire student body. Not only was he the band director for the high school, he was the only teacher in school who taught all 12 grades. In addition to guiding high school students, he further displayed his talent for instructing with bright-eyed pupils from the first grade, playing oatmeal boxes and triangles to the beat, as well as eager fifth graders, playing their instruments for the very first time. His greatest professional pride was having an accomplished 50-plus piece marching band; a stunning achievement for a school as small as Trinidad. Former band members will recall his amazing ability to make the performances as professional and commendable as possible, even when marching in wool uniforms in 100-degree heat, or marching through cow pastures posing as football fields. John also put the band's talents on display with performances in the annual Spring Band Concert and brought performances to nearby small schools with a Spring Band Tour. When John first took over the reins of the Trinidad Band, the school didn't have a fight song. Recognizing that every great band wants to support their football team, he exhibited his admiration for the Longhorns by adapting their Texas Fight song to the high school level and produced "Trojan's Fight". Hearing the tune after a touchdown or watching the band perform it at the end of the half-time show in the famous "T" formation, still brings thrills and goosebumps to those who remember. His hand written sheet music for this melody can still be found in the music files at Trinidad High School. After retiring from teaching in 1990, John said he needing something to do. He began working at the Walmart in Corsicana and turned "something to do" into a 24 year second career. He took great pleasure in laughing and joking with fellow employees as well as customers. Significant contributions in John's life include 9 years with the National Guard and 1 year of active duty, playing reveille on the bugle and performing in the company's military band. John was also a life-long Christian and a founding member of the Trinidad Church Of Christ. He led the song services and provided inspirational leadership to the congregation for 50 years. John Spencer treated everyone equal, always tried to see the good in his fellow man and had the patience of Job. John left us to take his turn leading God's choir and conducting his marching band. He will be profoundly missed here on earth. John is survived by..... his wife Glendeen Spencer, Son Glenn and wife Tammy Spencer, Son Dwayne Spencer, daughters Tangie Anderson, and Leslie Longoria, sisters Ruby Love and Alice Goode . His legacy continues with grandchildren, Anna, April, Bryan, Sarah, and Jordan and seven great-grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his parents J.C. and Sarah Spencer and brother Fred Spencer. The family will receive visitors Tuesday, November 10 from 6-8 PM at Huckabee-Tomlinson Funeral, Malakoff, TX. Graveside service will be 10:00 AM Wednesday, November 11 at Trinidad Cemetery with Minister Kerry Clark officiating. . Pallbearers will be Ray Rubio, Joshua Rubio, Adrian Rubio, Charles Watson, Ricky Hernandez, and Jerry Brigance. In lieu of flowers the family request that memorial be made to the American Cancer Society or the Trinidad Alumni. Online condolences can be made at www.tomlinsonfuneral.com
Trinidad Trinidad, TX,