Geoffrey F. Spencer

October 27, 1927 - December 29, 2005 

Geoffrey F. Spencer

October 27, 1927 - December 29, 2005 

Obituary for Geoffrey F. Spencer

Geoffrey F. Spencer, 78, of Independence, MO, died on Thursday, December 29th at Independence Health Care Center. A private service will be Monday, January 2nd prior to cremation. A Memorial Service to celebrate Geoff’s life will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, January 4th at Walnut Gardens congregation of the Community of Christ, 19201 East R.D. Mize Rd., Independence, MO. Family and friends will gather in the church hall following the service. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Outreach International, PO Box 210, Independence, MO 64051-0210. Geoffrey Fizelle Spencer was born October 27, 1927, to Frederick A. and Irene (Fizelle) Spencer in Teralba, New South Wales, Australia. His family moved to Syndey in 1929. Following graduation from the University of Sydney, Geoff taught in high schools from 1949 to 1953. Geoff was ordained to the lay ministry in the Community of Christ at age 13 and became a full-time minister in the church in 1954, serving in several locations in Australia. He married Jill Godwin in Sydney in 1953. They had three children and in 1966 the family moved to Independence at the request of the church so Geoff could serve in its world headquarters. In 40 years working for the church, Geoff served in numerous capacities, beginning with Christian education and pastoral services. He was president of the Quorum of High Priests from 1974 to 1984 and, reflecting a life-long passion for education, became president of the Temple School in 1978. He was appointed to the Council of Twelve, the church’s foremost missionary body, in 1984, and became president of the Twelve in 1990. He retired in 1994. He was a member of the Graceland University board of trustees from 1996 to 2002 and served for a period as pastor of the Walnut Gardens congregation. Geoff earned two master’s degrees and did extensive other post-graduate work. He wrote five books, including "Strangers and Pilgrims: Images of the Church for Today” (1984) and "A Brightness of Hope: A Study of the Christian Doctrine of Hope” (1996). He also composed hymn texts for the church’s hymnal. He was the subject of a biography, "Geoffrey F. Spencer: Advocate for an Enlightened Faith” (1998), by Wayne Ham. As a minister Geoff traveled to many places in the United States, Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America, as well as returning often to his beloved Australia, to preach, teach and share fellowship with member of the church. In 2003, after 37 years in their Independence home, Geoff and Jill moved to Lee’s Summit, MO, to live with their daughter, Shelley Spencer- Parton, and son-in-law Shawn. They were lovingly cared for by Shelley and her family. Last summer, Geoff and Jill moved to Rosewood at the Groves Assisted Living Center for additional care. Geoff is survived by his devoted wife Jill; sons Paul Spencer and Mark Spencer, both of Hartford, CT; Shelley and Shawn; grandsons Luke and Cale; sister Wendy Stewart, of Australia; and niece Margaret Stewart, of Toronto, Canada. He is predeceased by his parents, grandson Connor Parton and nephew Robert Stewart.

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