Robert Stewart Spencer died on Sunday, June 16. He was born in Canton on March 17th (St. Patrick’s Day) in 1927. He is survived by his wife, Janet Spencer, and five children (Kathy Knoch Brown, Robert Stewart Spencer II, Paula Kirby, John Spencer, and Barbara Singer Cheng). It is fitting that he passed on Father’s Day with all of his children at his side at Ohio Veterans Home in Sandusky. He is also survived by thirteen grandchildren and ten great grandchildren. Robert was a recent resident of Lakeside. He also lived part time in North Ft. Myers, Florida. His family and business, Spencorp Industries, were grown in Alliance. He married Janet Jones on June, 12, 1948, and they had just celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary.
Robert was well known for his lifetime passion for boating. In 1999, Robert was awarded Life Membership from the United States Power Squadrons® Sail and Power Boating, having earned 25 Merit Marks for meritorious service given unstintingly and unselfishly in the interest of the organization presented by the governing board. He was a teacher of Basic Boating, the seminal training course for Power Squadron, for more than twenty years. He was an activist for safe boating on U.S. Waterways for most of his life. He was the commodore of the Gravel Bar Yacht Club in 1972 and an active member of the Put-in-Bay Yacht Club, where he inducted his son, John Spencer, as commodore in 2008. He was also a charter member of the Crew’s Nest Private Boating Club, which was established on South Bass Island in 1970. Robert and his wife Janet (with many friends and family) have explored every Great Lake in the U.S. with the exception of Lake Superior and boated the Intracoastal Waterway from Lakeside through the Erie Barge Canal, down the Atlantic, and across Florida to the Gulf of Mexico six times. They first explored parts of the Intracoastal Waterway in the late fifties with fellow boating friends from Alliance. In 1977, one of their boating trips between Ohio to Florida was written up in a series of Lakeland Boating Magazine articles journaling every-day life living on a boat with a family. Their youngest child had just turned eight years old.
Robert was a lifetime member of the United Methodist Church with active participation in Christ United Methodist Church in Alliance, Lakeside Methodist Church, and Grace Methodist Church in Cape Coral, FL. He was an active member of the community, belonging to many clubs and organizations, including the Lions Club in Alliance and Peninsula Lions in Lakeside-Marblehead. He was an U.S. Army veteran in World War II, stationed in Paris, France, drafted immediately after graduation from Alliance High School in January of 1945. In the military he completed Motorpool and Military Police training (COB 383 MP BN). After an honorable discharge on January 3, 1947, he attended Kent State University.
He began his career at a young age, working at his father’s Penzoil Station Service Station, the first in Alliance. He was the owner and operator of Steel Trucks. He was also involved in Toastmasters early in his career. He became a salesman at Armor Abrasive Materials. Later he sold for Penetone Industrial Chemical Corporation and was promoted to the Midwest Sales Manager. He then started his own industrial chemical company, Spencorp Industries, now led by his son Robert Spencer III.