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Wilbur Edward SpencerMarch 13, 1937 ~ August 17, 2017 (age 80)
Wilbur (Wil) Edward Spencer, age 80, passed away on August 17, 2017 after a long illness.
He was born on March 13, 1937 in Seattle. He was the eldest child of Albert II and Harriett (Fuller) Spencer. Wil was fifth generation Vashon Islander with roots to two Island homestead families: the Fullers and the Hofmeisters who arrived to the Island in 1883 and 1884 respectively.
Wil started working in the family business, Al’s Service Station (Shell, presently Chevron), at the age of 13. He graduated from VHS in 1955 and went on to earn his degree in economics and business administration from Whitman College in 1959. He was a proud member of the Delta Tau Delta Fraternity. Wil was the first in his family to graduate from college. He enrolled in the U.S. Marine Corps Officer Candidate School at Quantico, VA, but was unable to finish due to emergent family needs. He returned home and served the remainder of his military term in the Marine Corps Reserves while working for the family business.
Wil married his wife of 55 years, Marian (Evans), in November of 1961 and within a few years, they started a family. He went to work as an underwriter at Safeco Insurance Company, but Wil’s true calling was the fire service. He had started as a volunteer firefighter in high school, and went on to serve as volunteer fire chief for Vashon before eventually moving on to become fire chief for Snohomish County (FPD1), Spring Glen (KCFD 40) and finally the City of Auburn where he served for eight years. Between his stints at Spring Glen and Auburn, he served as the first fire marshal for Whatcom County.
In 1985, Wil became a Deputy State Fire Marshal. He traveled across Washington, inspecting nursing homes, adult homes, residential schools, and hospitals. He also spent time working at incident command during wildfire season. During Wil’s working career, there were very few years that he and his family lived off-island. The Island was Wil’s home and he felt very connected to its community.
Wil retired in 2002. During the early part of his retirement, he volunteered at the Island’s history museum and served on the neighborhood water system board. Wil was an avid sports fan, and he loved music, especially folk music. He was a train and camera enthusiast. Wil liked to go for Sunday drives and to work on projects around the house that he built with his family. He loved discussing current events and politics at home. He greatly enjoyed spending time with family, especially around the holidays when all of the extended family would gather. Wil spent the last year of his life at Vashon Community Care Center.
Wil is survived by his wife, his three children: Doug (Kim Odekirk) and James (Oz Barron) of Seattle, Stephanie of Vashon, 4 grandchildren: Amy, Elsa, Sydney and Stephen, 3 great-grandchildren, his sister, Arlene Alexander, sister-in-law, Joyce Spencer, “pseudo daughter” Pat Scott, several nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews, and many cousins.
Wil was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers: Robert and Gerald.
A Graveside Service will be held Saturday September 2, 2017 at 2pm at the Vashon Cemetery with a Reception to follow at the Vashon Fire Station.