Guy Earl Spence, age 89, of Kahoka, Missouri, died at 2:10 a.m. at Blessing Hospital in Quincy, Illinois, after a brief illness. Guy was two days shy of celebrating his 90th birthday.
Guy, the only son of Carl Elvin and Mary Fay (Murphy) Spence, was born at his maternal grandparents’ home a wee little fella of three pounds on May 8, 1933. Much to the surprise of Dr. Martin, Guy survived and was placed in a shoebox that was set on the oven door to keep him warm. Guy was raised by his maternal grandparents Rafa Earl and Mary Ethel (Noel) Murphy.
He was united in marriage to Betty Jo Lorigan on December 22, 1957. They were the parents of Kevin Guy and Karma Jo. Betty preceded him in death on November 22, 1962. Guy then married Doris Annetta Dunning on October 3, 1964. To this union four children were born: Kris Eugene, Kay Ann, Kathy Mae, and Kraig Lee. Doris preceded him in death on November 17, 2014.
Survivors include children, Kevin Spence and his fiancée Daniella Jones of Hamilton, Illinois; Karma Hillyer and her husband Brian of Kahoka; Kris Spence and his wife Karn Erlandson of Portage, Michigan; Kay Sprague and her husband Brad of Kahoka; and Kraig Spence and his wife Marie of O’Fallon, Missouri; son-in-law Mark Courtois of St. James, Missouri; eight grandchildren Tiffany Finch and her husband Trevor of LaHarpe, Illinois; Bailee Kiger and her husband Cory of Kahoka; Shannon Hillyer of St. Charles, Missouri; Addison Sprague and his fiancée Elizabeth Butler of Columbia, Missouri; Brynn Sprague of Kahoka; Seth Courtois and Alexis Courtois of St. James, Missouri; and Helen Spence of Portage, Michigan; seven great-grandchildren, Madilyn, Cayden, and Connor Finch of LaHarpe; Isaiah, Camden, and Knox Kiger of Kahoka; and Grayson Courtois of St. James; a sister, Darlene Ryals and her husband Roger of Unionville, Missouri; as well as nieces, nephews, cousins, and other relatives.
Guy was preceded in death by his parents, both wives, daughter Kathy Mae, and a sister, Delores Kopfer.
Guy lived north of Unionville and attended Waite School through 8th grade. To get to Unionville High School, he would walk a mile to catch the bus. After graduating from high school in May of 1951, Guy farmed and later worked at Hy-Vee grocery in Unionville. When Guy decided to join the U.S. Navy, he first had to prove he had been born, because Dr. Martin had not recorded his birth. He, his parents, and maternal grandparents traveled to Jefferson City to verify his birth and get a birth certificate. Once in the Navy, he served on the U.S.S. Helena CA75, a Baltimore-class heavy cruiser, from February 14, 1952, to February 7, 1956 – two years were spent on the deck force as a seaman and two years as a 3rd class ship serviceman. Guy then moved to Kahoka, and on March 12, 1956, began working for General Telephone & Electronics Midwest (GTE) as a line crew switchman and installer/repairman. Guy retired from GTE Midwest on May 31, 1993, after 37 years of service. On October 28, 1993, after a few months of retirement, Guy went to work as a stockperson for Dadant & Sons, Inc. in Kahoka until his second retirement on May 1, 2015.
Guy was baptized a member of the Methodist faith in 1962 but attended St. Michael’s Catholic Church faithfully with his wife Doris. Guy was a strong champion for education and served as a member, president, and vice president of the Clark County R-1 School Board from 1973 to 1982. He encouraged his children to get as much education as they desired, saying that once you’ve learned it, they can’t take it away from you. He was an Industrial Opportunities Board member from 1997 to 2021. Guy had the opportunity to be a part of the Great River Honor Flight with his son Kraig on April 6, 2017. For the past year, Guy resided at the Clark County Nursing Home where he was well-liked, enjoyed the activities, listened to KMEM on his radio, and connected with old friends along with making new ones. When interviewed for the CCNH resident spotlight, Guy’s advice to young people was, “If you’re working for somebody, do a good job.”
Guy was a man of few words and lived by example; believing in hard work, living within one’s means, and serving as a humble, kind soul. He had many sayings which often expressed his thoughts, including “You’re twenty-one and weigh one hundred.” or “You could tear up an anvil.” Guy could be ornery and usually had a twinkle in his eye when doing so. He lived a simple life and whenever asked what he wanted or needed, always answered “good health.”
Funeral services honoring Guy’s life will be conducted at 10:00 am on Tuesday, May 9, 2023, at the Wilson & Triplett Funeral Home of Kahoka. Father Rob Fields will preside. Interment will follow at the Kahoka City Cemetery where full military rites will be accorded by the American Legion, Herman Blum Post #192 and The VFW Post #4342. Visitation will be held on Monday, May 8, 2023, from 5:00 until 7:00 pm at the funeral home. Memorial contributions in memory of Guy are suggested to the Clark County Cancer Fund or to the Clark County Nursing Home of Kahoka. You are invited to share your memories of Guy and leave a condolence at www.wilsontriplett.com