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May 27, 1941 ~ February 9, 2024 (age 82) 82 Years Old
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Dwight Carlisle Spencer passed away peacefully at his home in Hahira, Georgia at the age of 82 on February 9, 2024, following a long battle with Parkinson’s dementia. Dwight had four great loves in his life: his heavenly Father, his family, his country, and his career as an educator.
He met the love of his life, Bonnie Sue McClure, at a gathering of friends for an evening of playing cards. He announced his interest in her by sending her a Valentine’s Day card asking her for a date. It is poetic to celebrate his life on the anniversary of the happiest part of his earthly journey. He married her on August 16, 1963, on the same day of her college graduation. They lived a beautiful example of a Godly marriage for just shy of 55 years, raising two daughters together, teaching in the same building of the same college for over thirty years together, and traveling the world together. He lived a full, beautiful life which bore much fruit.
Dwight enlisted with the Army National Guard right out of high school and proudly served his country for 21 years before retiring with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He was stationed at Camp McCain in Elliott, MS for the majority of his military career, but he also undertook specialized training through the Defense Intelligence Agency and Oakridge National Laboratory. He concluded his service in an intelligence role assigned to the adjutant general in Jackson, MS in 1984.
Following graduation from Linn High School as Valedictorian in 1961, Dwight attended college at Mississippi College and the University of Mississippi, where he earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Mathematics and Physics. He taught high school briefly in Crystal Springs and Greenville, before finding his permanent home at Mississippi Delta Community College (MDCC), where he taught Physics and Physical Science, while serving as the Chairman of the Math & Science Department for many years. He loved his school, his colleagues, and his students, remembering many of them in his later years, even when his memories grew dim.
Concurrent with his teaching career at MDCC, he began Spencer Dispensers, where he operated the vending machine services on campus. He and Bonnie later transitioned this to their traveling custom jewelry business in their retirement years. It was also during this time that he trained in financial securities and opened Spencer Financial Services, an independent contractor of N.I.S. Financial Services, the exclusive broker for mutual funds for Ozark National Life Insurance.
Following his retirement from teaching and the military, Dwight worked at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama as a research physicist on sunspot theory. Not being one to sit idly, he also earned his credentials through the IRS Tax Practitioner’s Institute and ran a seasonal tax preparation business in his hometown of Indianola.
In 2003, Dwight and Bonnie relocated to South Georgia to be closer to their daughters and grandchildren. Here, he worked his final job as the quality control and financial manager of Southeastern Agricultural Laboratories in Barney, Georgia. He took great pride in his work and was reluctant to leave when it was time. He spent the rest of his retired days with Bonnie and his family, enjoying his grandchildren, traveling, gardening, and attending his church. He was old school; he was a true southern gentleman, and he will truly be missed by all who knew him.
Dwight is survived by his youngest daughter, Karen Spencer Summerlin, and son-in-law, Sol Summerlin; five grandchildren: Luke Kelly (Kim), Jacob Kelly (Tristen), John Mark Kelly (Olivia), Isabella Summerlin, and Solomon Summerlin; one great-grandson, Theodore Kelly; a brother-in-law, James McClure (Rene), and many special nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, C.T. and Lora Ann Spencer, his sister, Helen Lovett (John), his brother, Bobby Spencer (Ruth), his precious wife, Bonnie McClure Spencer, his oldest daughter, Carla Sue Spencer, and his brother and sister-in-law, John and JoAnn Walton.
His family would like to offer our sincerest gratitude to each of his private caregivers, his caregivers at The Orchard Assisted Living, and his care team at Georgia Hospice Care. We owe you a debt we can never repay, and the work you do is so important. We are also so thankful for his church family, Okapilco Baptist Church. You loved him so well and gave him community and purpose after the loss of Bonnie.
Funeral services for Dwight will be held on Wednesday, February 14, 2024, in the chapel of Ray Funeral Home in Cleveland, MS at 10:00 AM for visitation, funeral at 11:00 AM, and interment at Cleveland Cemetery immediately following.