CROSS PLAINS - Spencer LaMar Clope, 95, passed away peacefully just before midnight, March 16, 2005, at the home of his daughter, Sara, in Cross Plains. He was born in Homewood, PA, on Thanksgiving day, November 25, 1909, the son of Irving Spencer and Katherine Mary (nee: Christensen) Clope. He has resided in Racine since 1924.
In a college chemistry lecture, Grace Olive Johnson tapped him on the shoulder to ask the time---and the chemistry was perfect! They were united in marriage on April 28, 1939. A deeply religious couple, Spence & Grace were long-time members of the First United Methodist Church.
As a chemical engineer, Spence was employed by Young Radiator Co for 44 years, retiring in 1976. Shortly after joining the company, Young Radiator workers went on strike, and, as secretary of the labor union, Spence helped write the first Union labor contract in Racine. With the help of a chemical engineering partner, he also formed his own company in 1933, the Analytical Research Chemical Laboratory, which at its peak, during World War II, employed six individuals in the old Baker Building in Downtown Racine. After the war, when the company was downsized, he moved the business to his home, retiring in 1984.
Spence was a long-time member of Belle City Lodge 92 Free and Accepted Masons, the Milwaukee Tripoli Shrine, and the Milwaukee Scottish Rite, serving as Most Wise Master of the Chapter of Rose Croix.. He was elected to the 33rd degree which entitled him to a position of Honorary Member of the Supreme Council of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction.
Spence was an avid Ham radio operator from 1934 until shortly before his death. This past October, at the annual meeting of Racine's Chapter 162 of the Quarter Century Wireless Association, he was awarded the prestigious Olin Fox K9AKG Recognition of Excellence Award, which is given yearly to an amateur radio operator from the southeastern Wisconsin and northeastern Illinois area who has contributed significantly to their community and to ham radio in general. He was a staunch supporter of the radio hobby in his capacity as instructor, facilitator, and volunteer license examiner for the Federal Communications Commission. In the early 1950's, his interest in RTTY (radio teletype) led to his becoming the second Amateur Radio RTTY station in the state.
As a young man, Spence found joy in singing. He sang in the choirs of First Methodist Church, First Presbyterian Church, and a Congregational Church. He was also a charter member of the Mastersingers Chorus of Racine. The Theater was also in his blood. He participated in a variety of amateur productions and especially enjoyed, and excelled in, the elaborate ritual work of the Scottish Rite.
At 95, Spence led an incredible life! He lived through the most dynamic time in human history! He had a keen scientific mind and was always looking for new challenges. Up until his 95th birthday, celebrated with family this past Thanksgiving Day, he lived independently in his West Racine home of 58 years, under the watchful and loving eyes of his neighbors. He loved his family and friends and telling a good joke and chemistry and computers and math and puzzles and cats and life and breakfasts and martinis! Although not necessarily in that order!
Spencer is survived by his three children, Susan (Allen) Hillman of Laconia, NH; Sara (Bob) Long of Cross Plains, WI; and David (Jane) Clope of Peoria, IL; 10 grandchildren, and 3 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, his twin brothers, Homer and Hobart, his wife, Grace (July 4, 1980), and his infant daughter, Katherine Anne.
Visitation will be held Monday, March 21 from 5:00-7:00 at Hanson Funeral Home, with a Masonic service to follow at 7:00 p.m. The funeral will be held on Tuesday, March 22, at 1:00 p.m. at First United Methodist Church.
Memorials in Spencer's name to HospiceCare Inc., 5395 East Cheryl Parkway, Madison, WI 53711, or to Hospice in your own community would be greatly appreciated. HANSON FUNERAL HOME 3014 Northwestern Avenue 632-4479Published in the Racine Journal Times on 3/20/2005.
We are saddened with the passing of Spencer Clope W9LDH.
Spencer was 95 last Thanksgiving, and had come down with pneumonia just after that. His condition improved and declined after that so it was not unexpected due to his age. Never the less it still is a shock to our group as he was a very positive dynamic individual, a constant inspiration to us young kids. Spencer was first licensed in 1934, apparently lapsed during war??? was not in Military, but as a Chemist.
Apparently he was a forerunner using RTTY in Wis. He built an auto tuner when he was in lates 80's and a PSK 20 kit a couple of years ago, also loved surfing the net,and was thrilled when I pointed him to a site about lissajous patterns.
Just last summer we helped him put up a new vertical HF antenna at his house and he drove himself to our meetings.Thanks 73 de Ken N9NBC S/T Chapter 162 SE WI