Moore Chapel

206 West Center Street, P.O. Box 1149, Fayetteville, AR

Phone: 479-442-7314

George Spencer

Fayetteville, AR

1953 - 2017

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Published: December 17, 2017

George Spencer was born May 10, 1953, to George B. Spencer and Martha Nell Jowers Spencer. He died Dec. 11, 2017, of complications from a fall while hiking in his beloved Ozarks.

After graduating in 1971 from Pine Bluff Public Schools, George earned an undergraduate degree in economics from Hendrix College in 1975, and a juris doctorate from the University of Arkansas in 1978.

George was a genuine Arkansas Renaissance man. He was born to be a teacher, although that was not immediately apparent to him. After a brief, intellectually impoverishing career as a lawyer, he hired on as a teacher of chemistry at Fayetteville High School where he taught for thirty years. George was a legendary instructor-intelligent, well-informed, and passionate about both his subject matter and his students. It was probably unnecessary for him to stoop to such cheap tricks as staging small chemical explosions, but he did it anyway. Literally thousands of students engaged with science through George Spencer.

A Pine Bluff native, George was a skilled carpenter and an avid outdoorsman- hiking, fishing, paddling, and rock climbing (before many in Arkansas really knew what that meant). He was part of a group that camped regularly in the Canyonlands National Park in Utah. He made two unique contributions to those trips-himself and the complete works of William Shakespeare which he carried in his backpack. George was as at ease in quoting a Robert Frost poem as explaining his "mole of cats" analogy. And his letters of recommendation aided countless students in their pursuit of college admission.

George's intellectual interests were truly catholic—chemistry, geology, history, literature, and political theory to mention a few. Completely devoid of pretension, he could talk fishing with a professional angler and Plato with a philosopher. He never met a stranger unless he or she turned out to be a fool or a knave.

George Benjamin Spencer III, loving and much loved, made a difference in this world and he will be missed by many dear friends.

He is survived by his longtime companion, navigator extraordinaire, and partner Rita Caver, sister Mary Lou Chilcote; brother Matt Spencer, brother-in-law Fred Chilcote, nephew David Chilcote, nieces Mary Elizabeth Chilcote, Madison Spencer, Kate Spencer, and his step-mother Karlyn Spencer Crice.

A celebration of George's life and work will be held after the new year.

Memorials may be made to the George Spencer Memorial Fund with the Fayetteville Education Foundation, P.O. Box 571, Fayetteville, Ark., 72702 or

Online condolences may be made at

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