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Rev. Douglas M. Spence

Rev. Douglas M. Spence

The Rev. Douglas M. Spence, 82, died peacefully on August 1, 2010, at his home in Ashland, Ore., surrounded by family and caregivers. After having survived four previous cancers, he finally succumbed to metastasized lung cancer.

A resident of Ashland since 1993, Doug was a member of Trinity Episcopal Church, where he also served as a part-time priest when needed. He retired as rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Highland Park, Ill., following 25 years of service, where he made many friends and was active in diocesan and community affairs. He was also rector of St. Aidan's Episcopal Church, in Cheltenham, Penn., and served on the staff of Grace Epiphany Episcopal Church, in Philadelphia, Pa.

Doug was born in Pasadena, Calif., where he lived until age 17, when he enlisted in the Navy right before the end of WWII. He served as a V5 Cadet at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, and following his discharge he returned to southern California, where he graduated from Occidental College in 1956. The same year he married his sweetheart, Diana. He then enrolled at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, where he received his Masters of Divinity in 1959. He was ordained as a deacon in the diocese of Los Angeles, Calif., and then moved with his wife and new son to Philadelphia, Pa., where he was ordained as a priest in 1960. He attended graduate school in Oriental Studies at the University of Pennsylvania until 1964, when he realized that his real calling was ministry, and he began the career that was to define him for the rest of his life.

Doug loved people and was appreciated by many. An avid reader, news buff, and crossword puzzle aficionado, he enjoyed learning and staying abreast of current events. He was passionate about social justice, the arts, and the environment and gave generously in support of many causes. He particularly loved the theatre, which drew him to Ashland, and he was proud to have provided rehearsal space to Chicago-based Steppenwolf Theatre Company when it was just getting started in the 1970s. Those who knew Doug best will always remember his insistent determination (he discovered a way to use his walker to get up stairs by himself), his connection to his family and friends (including cousins in Canada and New Zealand), his commitment to a life of recovery (he was a friend of Bill W. since 1987), his hearty laugh (especially when winning at Yatzee), and his actions to make the world a better place (he provided space at Trinity Church Highland Park for Tri-Con Childcare agency, which serves low-income children).He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Diana; son, John and daughter-in-law, Janice; son, Paul and daughter-in-law, Rosi; daughter, Anne and son-in-law, George; two grandsons, Noah and Rodolpho Aginaldo, and many friends and former parishioners. He was preceded in death by brother, Donald. A memorial service will be held in his honor at Trinity Episcopal Church in Ashland on Thursday, August 5, 2010, at 2:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Doug's name to Ashland Hospice or Trinity Episcopal Church, Ashland.

Rev. Douglas M. Spence