William (Bill) Spencer was born May 17, 1926, in Colorado Springs, CO. He grew up on his family’s homestead in Kansas. Bill was the youngest of ten children, with four brothers and five sisters.
Two of his older brothers, Jack and Bob, spurred Bill’s interest in boxing, and over time he excelled at and readily enjoyed the sport.
In 1943, with World War II creating a huge demand for fighting men, a Marine Corps recruiter came to Bill’s high school. Bill was only seventeen years old. The recruiters were looking for young men who were good with math. Bill was thrilled that as a Marine he could become a pilot. His parents gave their permission and he graduated early to become one of America’s finest. Unfortunately, by the time everything was ready for him to join and train, the pilot training program had been cancelled. It was now 1944, and the Marines had many other manpower needs.
Bill was on active duty for more than two years and served 14 months in the South Pacific Theater of operations with the 1st Marine Air Wing, 122nd Fighter Squadron.
While being transported by ship, a Navy officer asked Bill if he could defend himself. Having never been shy, Bill said he could take care of himself. The officer replied, “Before you get off this ship, we’re going to teach you to box.” Bill accepted and fought semi-pro at welter-weight during his time in the service.
The South Pacific tour took Bill to the Ellice Islands, Russell Islands, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, Green Islands, and the Philippine’s—Samar, Leyte, Mindora, Mindanao, then to New Guinea and Okinawa. After the war, Bill went to work for Mobile Oil in Tulsa, OK.
During a social at the First Christian Church, Bill met his future wife, Ruthie. He was immediately taken with her. She loved to dance and was very outgoing, as he was. She worked for a rival oil company.
They were married in 1948.
In 1949, they moved to Coos Bay, OR. Bill took a job as an accountant for a lumber company. He later worked as personnel manager at a pulp and paper company.
Bill and Ruthie had a son Robert, who is now living in the Seattle area. They were also blessed with grandchildren: Nicole is in a Master’s program in Childhood counseling and their grandson Lucas is a freshman in college. According to Bill they have always been straight A students.
When Bill retired, he and Ruthie moved to King City; he’d achieved his dreams of a happy marriage and family, two cars in the garage and a woodworking shop. Bill also enjoyed travelling at this time and has been to Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and China.
Visitors of Farmington Square Tualatin are always invited to Bill’s apartment to see his pagoda-style wood structures, which are a true testament to this resident’s talents.