Jeffrey Spencer died May 18, 2023, treated with extraordinary care by the nurses and technicians on floor 3 east, Thompson Heath, Canandaigua, N.Y., with long visits by family and friends as he passed the last days of his life.
There was always a distant look in his eyes, as if he were seeking the far horizon of a yet unknown place. At times, he was seemingly wordless and yet when he was small, he was full of ideas and observations and so much more. The words seem to tumble out in a marvelous jumble, and we all used to listen in amazement.
He was the fourth of five children born to George and Helen Spencer on October 21, 1955, growing up on Townline Road, Penn Yan. Always active, loving the outdoors, making fortresses, and creating exotic jungles indoors. Eager, willing, quiet waiting for the next big thing. He loved animals, dogs particularly, and the adventure of growing up in a small town, in the country and on beautiful Keuka Lake.
The range of his interests was tempered by his environment and his inclinations. In many ways both confined him — a source of solace and frustration. A particular enthusiasm was fishing and what can be more satisfying on a summer’s day than casting in a trout stream and secretly hoping not to snag a hapless creature. Hiking and bird watching, imagining the life of the indigenous peoples living lightly on the bounty of the Finger Lakes, voracious reading on war and conflicts these were all parts of his character.
He had a patient and admiring extended family. But nothing exceeded the joy and sorrow he had with his son Garrett, who tragically died May 2, 2023. His marriage to Valerie Black had ended but their relationship continued, enriched by experience and compassion.
Hard work was embedded in his life as a mason and in that fashion, he leaves all kinds of structures, solid and durable. He had an abiding love of history and the monuments of great thinkers and shakers. Yet there was a strong streak of skepticism that made him question the status quo and for the most part, leave it behind. He was a quiet man, never speaking without a reason and then speaking with authority. Yes, there was a faraway look in his eye, and we will always wonder what he was seeing.
His brother Craig was a constant boon companion and sisters Cheryl and Lynne ever loving. Lisa Spencer, Garrett’s wife and children Frankie, Sammy and Dean are surviving kin along with cousins and friends forming an extended, caring family.
Contributions in his memory may be given to the Friends of the Outlet, Inc., PO Box 65, Dresden, NY 14441, or the Humane Society of Yates County, 1216 NY-14A, Penn Yan, NY 14527. A remembrance gathering will be held sometime this coming summer in a place that he loved.
We deeply mourn Jeff’s passing yet are grateful for his life, ever a paradox and continuing source of wonder.