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Spence, Marion D.

May 15, 1939 –
 April 11, 2015


A Tribute to the Man we all know as Denver Spence

Marion Denver Spence, May 15, 1939 – April 11, 2015, born in McGehee, AK to James Thomas and Olive Spence.  He grew up in Weleetka, OK where his parents owned the Western Auto Store.  He graduated from Weleetka High School in 1957.  Music captivated Denver at an early age.  He played the trumpet all through his elementary to high school age.  He played for church services at the Methodist Church where he attended with his family.  While in high school, he and close friend John Morgan, also from Weleetka, began playing in a Jazz Band for hire.

Along with his band addiction, Denver was always a hard worker.  Denver and Ronnie Thomas went out to Denver, CO to work for Frito-Lay while in high school.  They both stayed with Denver’s aunt while they worked.  He also worked a summer in construction, and delivering newspapers.   In addition, during high school he worked for the Weleetka newspaper where he ran the printing press.  Many nights were spent by Denver keeping the presses running doing ad make up, lineotype operator and wrote a weekly column called Round About.  The column gave information about events that happened in Weleetka.  That was probably the beginning of what some might call a workaholic personality.  Others might call it great work ethic.  Denver called it WIT…..Whatever It Takes!

Denver continued to study music throughout college.  He attended University of Tulsa, East Central University and then graduated with a Bachelor of Music Education in 1961 and Masters in Music Education in 1962 from the University of Oklahoma.  Because of conflicts with the Marching Band Director over Denver missing band practice for work, Denver went on to graduate with a music education degree by playing standup bass in the Symphony program.  He taught himself to play the bass, tried out for the Symphony and made the program.

It was during his work and fun at OU that he met and married Peggy Hancock who was also attending  in the Music program at the University of Oklahoma.  They were married from 1961 to 1972 and had two  children Shelly and Todd.  Shelly became a CPA and works in Finance for Texas Health Fort Worth Hospital in Texas.  She is married to Doug Miland has a daughter Jennifer and grand-daughter Ariella. Todd has had a successful sales career in Oklahoma City in the oil and gas servicing industry.  Todd has one son, Carter who lives in Houston.

Denver has one sister, Detra and husband Gary Montgomery who live in South Texas.  They have a daughter Jamie, son in law Brandon, grand-daughter Brook and one on the way.  They also have a son Jay.

Denver also stayed in touch with many cousins, Jo Bess of AK, Bob Boland of OK, Missy and Lisa of Dallas, TX.

Denver had an extensive career as follows:

  • 1962-1963 Durant Oklahoma Junior High School Band Director
  • 1964-1967 Ardmore Oklahoma High School and Junior High School Band Director
  • 1965-1967 Choir Director First Presbyterian Church, Ardmore, Oklahoma
  • 1967-1968 IBM Fort Worth, Texas Sales Manager



From here, he was recruited to work for Jenkins Music Co. of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma as a Service Representative from 1968-1970. Also during that same time he was choir Director for Meadowwood Baptist Church, Midwest City, Oklahoma.

In 1970 he opened his own music store, Spence Music Store in Ada, Oklahoma, where he grew his business to include servicing numerous Band programs.  He was still well respected as a guest conductor for many High School programs.

From 1975 to 1980 Denver was married to Elizabeth (Beth) Ann Blalock. She helped Denver with Spence Music Store while attending East Central University.   Their friendship was rejuvenated again in 2010 when they learned they both lived in the Dallas area

In 1981 Denver sold his music store to Jerry Howard and joined the instrument manufacturing industry with his first job as a sales rep for LebBlanc from 1984-1985.   He was later recruited to work for Conn Band Instruments (United Musical Instruments) from 1985-1998.   In 1999 he was presented with the Outstanding Sales Award.  His last sales job was with Gemeinhardt from 1989 until 2005 when he retired.

Upon retirement, Denver moved to Waxahachie where he became part of Red Oak Valley Golf Club.  He played golf and attended weekly lunches and outdoor BBQ’s with his friends and neighbors.  Recently, Denver made the big move to Lakeview Retirement Community where he quickly became involved with the Bridge Club, Bingo Fanatics and all Happy Hours.

Denver was a member of the Central Church of Christ in Ada, OK and for the past three years spent his Sunday mornings watching or listening to Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church (PHPC.ORG).

Denver is also survived by children and grandchildren of his late wife Lynda, daughters Christi, Dixie.   Grandchildren Lacey, Jordon, Scout, and Rowdy.  Also, three great grandchildren.

Denver never met a stranger and everyone that met him came to love him dearly.  He was an inspiration to many, a mentor to others, and a friend to all.

Arrangements are under the direction of:
Aria Cremation Service & Funeral Home
1820 N. Belt Line Road
Irving, Texas 75061

    Elizabeth (Beth) Spence Vezina
    10 May 2015

    Prayers for the family and many friends of Denver Spence. As a good friend, Denver shared with me many times that he didn’t want a big event when he passed. He wanted to make a difference with something that he considered more important. His desire is to leave an Endowment to the ECU Band. East Central University was one university that he attended and met many life long friends there. He was also involved with the band a great deal while he owned Spence Music Co. in Ada, OK. He also recently attended a reception at ECU where he and friends visited Dr. Correll, who is the current band director of the Pride of Tigerland. Following is the information, if you would like to add to the Denver Spence Memorial:

    East Central University Foundation
    Denver Spence Memorial Scholarship Fund
    1100 East 14th Street, PMB Y-8
    Ada, OK 74820
    Attn: Dr. Gerald Williamson

    Peace be with you. In God’s Love,

    Jimmie Melinder
    11 May 2015

    Such a wonderful man and mentor!
    You are truly missed Denver!


    Elizabeth Vezina
    15 May 2015

    Happy Birthday my Sweet. You were my inspiration! Rest in Peace.

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