“Talent is a gift, but you can only succeed with hard work.”
Dave wasn’t afraid to put in the work. As a husband, father, brother and friend, if you needed help, you could always count on Dave. He was a true gentleman and always cared for, and protected those around him. If he was going to help you or support your cause, you knew he would be there when you needed him most. He was a true pillar of strength for his family, friends and community. His death has left a tremendous void in our community, but together we can keep his memory alive by paying kindness forward, as Dave would want us to do, and putting the needs of others before our own!
David Edwin was born in Kirkland Lake on June 25, 1955 to parents Norman and Ruth (Wilson) Spencer. He joined older siblings Harold (1945), Donna (1948), James (1950) and was later followed by Janet (1962). Norman was a Bank Manager, and this meant regular moves for the Spencer family during Dave’s childhood. In 1958 the Spencer family moved to Cobalt where Dave began school. The family relocated to Owen Sound in 1964 where Dave completed his elementary education. He enjoyed playing hockey, baseball and took up football in High School, where he attended West Hill, before transferring to OSCVI. In January of 1970, Dave’s father transferred to Chesley and became the manager of the CIBC. Dave began grade 10 at Chesley District High School. It wasn’t long before a young woman by the name of Nancy Dianne Gordon caught his eye in the halls. On their first date, Dave arrived early (as he always did) in his pink Volkswagon and visited with Nancy’s mother in the kitchen. Unbeknownst to Dave, Nancy was helping her father de-horn cattle that day and entered the house (while Dave was in the kitchen) covered in blood. Quite the first impression, don’t you think? The date got worse before it got better as the car broke down on the way to Chesley, but as they say, the rest is history. Dave would have said, “It is what it is!” 🙂 They dated for the remainder of high school, with him proposing to Nancy before graduation. The year was 1973.
Dave followed Nancy to Hamilton where he attempted to enrol at Mohawk College. Unfortunately, the program was over-enrolled and he did not get a spot in the class. Dave was quick to get a job and work, while Nancy studied at McMaster University. During the next year, Dave worked a variety of jobs, spending time at Canadian Tire and National Steel Car. In 1974, he took a job at Bruce Nuclear Power Development as a labourer, worked in a tool crib, before eventually becoming an electrician. Nancy and Dave were married on June 24, 1978 at Allenford United Church. They soon settled on a rural property in Sullivan before moving into Chesley on 2nd Ave. S.W. in the early ’80s. In time, Dave and Nancy welcomed sons Cory (1982) and Bradley (1985). He loved spending time with the boys and quickly introduced them to a variety of sports. Sadly, Bradley died in a tragic accident in 1990 and Dave and his family’s life would forever be changed. In true Dave fashion though, he made good out of this tragedy and created a hockey bursary in Bradley’s name. Over the past 30 years, countless youth from the Chesley community have enjoyed a week at an elite hockey school enhancing their hockey and more important life skills along the way. None of this would have been possible without Dave and the support of his family.
Dave entered the world of retail in 1987 when he purchased McCurdy’s TV & Appliances and soon after Hodgins & Martini Furniture. He later combined the businesses and greatly enjoyed interacting with all of his customers. In 1996 he sold his successful business and began his career in real estate with Wilfred McIntee & Co. Limited. Over the next 24 years he sold a variety of residential, rural, farms and commercial real estate in the Grey Bruce area and was a trusted and well-respected agent. During this time he also worked part-time at the car dealership (Morrow’s) in Chesley and further expanded his touch on our community. The Spencers spent most of the ’90s on Martha St. in Chesley before building on a rural property on Grey Rd. 25 in Sullivan in 1999. Countless memories were made here with family and friends alike.
Dave was a true car enthusiast. As teenagers, both he and Nancy learned to drive in a Volkswagen. These were fun and important years that shaped Dave’s interest. His favourite car was his 1970 Brown ‘Cuda 340 pistol grip shifter and I am told many stories were told over the years about adventures (and a few antics) in this beloved automobile. He also was very fond of his 1974 1/2 (the 1/2 is an important detail, just ask Jimmy) MGB red convertible. Motorcycles also piqued Dave’s interest, however, he respected Nancy’s concern with their safety and appreciated them from afar.
Supporting his community was extremely important to Dave. He coached and encouraged the boys in hockey when they were young, and in his younger days was known as “The Train” in his playing days (in other words it took him a bit of time to get going but once he got going there was no stopping and you best get out of his way! 🙂 He held a variety of positions with the Chesley Chamber of Commerce through the years and always leant a helping hand in big community projects when they arose. However, Dave’s support was probably best exemplified in his involvement in the Chesley Kinsmen Club. Their motto “Serving the Communities Greatest Needs” truly aligned with Dave’s values and he didn’t disappoint. He joined the Club in 1982 and received the honour of becoming a Life Member in 1999, no easy accomplishment. Dave did not do it for the recognition though, he truly wanted to help everyone around him. That was just the special man he was. Whether flipping burgers at a fundraiser, working late at July-fest or imparting a bit of his knowledge to new members, Dave was devoted to the Chesley Kinsmen through and through. He was a mentor to many in our community, especially within the Club, and always took the time to explain the history and support new members. His shoes will be impossible to fill, however, he has taught all of us that with hard work great things can be accomplished!
Dave was not all work and no play! He spent time curling and perfecting his game on the golf course. They also created many memories travelling with the Knipfels, on their southern adventures during March Breaks. Dave enjoyed canoe trips north with the boys as well. For the last 30 years, he and his brothers have enjoyed spending the week after Labour Day together at their Brethren week, just relaxing, golfing and enjoying each other’s company. Dave also enjoyed his yearly golfing trip to Florida with his friends. This tradition began in the late ’90s and included lots of golf, cards and stories (many of which never left Florida I am told). In 2005 he and a few other local dads began an every other year father-son weekend, whereby he and Cory would join in on the festivities. A weekend on Manitoulin Island in the bush, with food and a few more drinks! Perfect bonding time! In recent years there were also father/son trips to Massanutten, Virginia to take in Nascar events. Virginia was their hub, and they enjoyed memorable races and weekends at Richmond, Bristol and Martinsville. Stories of all these adventures and times with Dave will live on for years to come. The wheels always turning, he looked forward to the Wilson’s Cousin reunion every three years usually in Nova Scotia.
Dave loved learning. He was constantly picking up a magazine to take in some new information. Likewise, he enjoyed learning from others and used this information to pass along and help those he met in everyday life. We are all born with limited talents, however, we can all learn and develop better strategies to help us succeed in life, and Dave did this regularly. He was known as “Mr. Trivia” and often joked that he didn’t even know why he remembered everything he did. In his downtime he enjoyed taking in the History Channel, or his beloved Montreal Canadians. Over the years he engaged in more than a few ribbings with friends and members of the community, about their undying loyalty to the Toronto Maple Leafs. He was quick to remind you of the recent history and successes (or lack thereof) of both historic franchises. Dave was fantastic on the barbecue with his specialty being steak. These dinners may have also included a glass of 83 with a splash of pepsi. Dave had a weakness for peanuts and licorice, often enjoying these treats with his beloved grandchildren Cash and Camille.
Dave always put others first. He was a big, gentle-man who was always thoughtful, loyal and most importantly, honest. He protected those around him and had a huge heart! He was also a very private man, and unfortunately, that has made his recent illness and death difficult for many to understand. However, Dave would not want us to dwell on these facts, but instead gather around each other as family, friends and members of his beloved community and support one another. He would want us to remember all the good stories and times we shared together.
In Dave’s final hours, the Eagles “Hotel California” was played. The lyrics go on to say, “you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.” Dave left this world quietly, as he entered, on his own terms, with few regrets. His life and legacy will live on in our memories and stories of this wonderful man!
Dave passed away after a short illness, surrounded by his family, on Friday, August 28, 2020 in his 66th year.
Beloved husband of Nancy (Gordon). Loving father of Cory (Calan) of Chatsworth and cherished Poppa of Cash and Camille. Dave will be dearly missed by his siblings Harold (Monique), Donna, Jimmy (Susan), and Janet (Jesse) Currie as well as the entire Spencer and Gordon families and many close friends. He was predeceased by his son Bradley (1990) and his parents Norman and Margaret (Wilson) Spencer.
Unfortunately due to current gathering restrictions, a private celebration of Dave’s life will be held. Inurnment in Chesley Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to Chesley Hospital Foundation would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.