Edwin Francis Spenceley
Edwin Francis Spenceley
  • February 27, 1929 - August 9, 2017
  • Charlottesville, Virginia

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Edwin Francis Spenceley, born 1929 in the town of Rainham County of Kent, England, passed away Wednesday morning, August 9.

He was the son of the late Eric and Nora Spenceley, is predeceased by his son, John K. Spenceley, and is survived by his wife, Eileen of Charlottesville, and daughter-in-law Terri of Woodbridge, VA. He is also survived by his brother Brian, of Thunder Bay, Canada, his sister Nora Suddarth and her husband Larry, of Charlottesville, and several nieces and nephews.

Ed was educated in England and attended The Admiralty Technical School for five years in the Chatham Dockyards. He emigrated to the United States in the early 1950s, and worked in the physics department at Auburn Polytechnical School (now Auburn University). While at Auburn, his expertise and research in microscopic instruments became known to the University of Virginia, and he was later recruited by the University to work in the Aerospace and Nuclear Engineering Department. Ed was a master at his work, and performed many high-precision projects for the Physics, Engineering, and Aerospace and Nuclear Engineering Departments. Ed’s projects included research for the space program in the 1960s and work with supersonic wind tunnels.

Ed was well known throughout the University for his work with the engineering students, who he taught to make drawings simpler, better, and less costly. He was often heard commenting proudly, “nothing is mass produced, and everything I make is original.” In addition to his work with the University, Ed also worked for the Medical Center, creating surgical instruments -- including parts for artificial heart valve prototypes and a safety retractable syringe. Ed worked for the University for over 63 years, spending the last 18 years working three-days a week in semi-retirement. His machine shop was located on Observatory Hill with the exception of eight years when his operation was moved to Olsson Hall.

Ed’s hobbies included jigsaw puzzles, making model sailing ships, and building doll houses. While on Observatory Hill, he became very interested in the wildlife, feeding the birds and squirrels regularly.

A memorial service to celebrate his life will be conducted 1 pm Wednesday, August 16, 2017 at The Church of Our Saviour Episcopal Church on East Rio Road with Reverend David Stoddart and Reverend Kathleen Sturges officiating. Ed was a member and artisan who crafted the altar cross, candelabrum, and the processional cross when the church was built in 1967. Memorials in his name may be made to The Church of Our Saviour Acolyte Program or to the Wild Life Refuge of Virginia. Because Ed was not known to dress formally, please be casual in your attire. A reception will follow in the social hall following the service. Interment of his ashes will be in the church cemetery.