Mr. Orval Earl Spence, Jr.

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Memories & Candles

“I am so saddened to see this. He was , by far, the best teacher I ever had!! ”
1 of 44 | Posted by: Joyce Van Dyke - New Kent, VA

“Mr. Spence was our high school Art Teacher. Due to his influence, we too became art teachers to encourage young students to love the arts. We were...Read More »
2 of 44 | Posted by: Karen Kehoe - WINDSOR HEIGHTS, IA

“My condolences to Jeff, your family and Jaine. Oh how very much Spence adored his grandsons! We Pekin students were so very blessed to have had...Read More »
3 of 44 | Posted by: Deb Heisdorffer Lee - Lockridge, IA

“Ive known Orval for many years, and Ive considered him a very good friend. We worked together and played a lot of golf together. We had many laughs...Read More »
4 of 44 | Posted by: Jim Collett - Schererville, IN

“Jeff and family -- you have Eunice and my(Frosty or Mr. V) sympathy. Your Dad was a fun and funny friend. I really enjoyed teaching with him. I was...Read More »
5 of 44 | Posted by: Frosty Van Voirst - Packwood, IA

“Orv may you Rest In Peace my old friend till we meet again! ”
6 of 44 | Posted by: Tony Deininger - Centerville, IA

“Feel fortunate to have met Orv. In the brief time I met him I could tell his love for teaching and JJanie. He showed me his entry for Iowa State...Read More »
7 of 44 | Posted by: Jo Dillon

“Spence you made high school easier to deal with. What a very special person you were. Love to you and all those you left behind. R.I.P. ”
8 of 44 | Posted by: A friend

“I am so saddened to hear of the loss of Orval Spence. He was a wonderful teacher. Orval was my art teacher at Pekin High School in 1970-1972. He...Read More »
9 of 44 | Posted by: Jerlyn Bowers - Sigourney, IA

“The World seems alittle quieter today without Orv's stories and laughter.Wanda (Sauer) Bagby ”
10 of 44 | Posted by: Wanda Bagby - Fairfield, IA

“The World seems very quiet without his stories and laughter today. Wanda (Sauer) Bagby ”
11 of 44 | Posted by: Wanda Bagby - Fairfield, IA

“Prayers for all the family. He was a great teacher to our children Jessi and Cheyne. Hugs, Joe and Roberta Adam ”
12 of 44 | Posted by: Roberta Adam - Richland, IA

“He made a difference! Thats the most any of us can hope fir when we leave this earth! ”
13 of 44 | Posted by: Patricia Felsten - Denton, TX

“If you knew Orv Spence for any length of time, it's difficult to sum up all the great laughs and memories you likely had in a short paragraph like...Read More »
14 of 44 | Posted by: Jamie Deahl - Des Moines, IA

“Jeff, Nikki, Noah & HaydenWe are so sorry for your loss. There was only one Orv! He was a special guy! He touched a lot of life's in his years on...Read More »
15 of 44 | Posted by: Aleta & Joe Mottet - Richland, IA

“Jeff, Nikki, Noah & Hayden,We are so sorry for your loss. Orv was a kind, generous, loved life, and completely lit up a room Man. We are sending...Read More »
16 of 44 | Posted by: Christina Johnson - Waukee, IA

“So very sad learning from Mark and Polly Maly about Orv. What a fun guy. Janie, I so enjoyed seeing on facebook all of your adventures together. ...Read More »
17 of 44 | Posted by: Tom and Connie Seevers - Lincoln, NE

“What an awesome person you were when exploring my imagination with art. No matter what it was!! Amazing teacher!! ”
18 of 44 | Posted by: Vicki Neff - Robertsville, MO

“What a guy! Full of love and laughter and a lot of wit! We feel blessed to have known him and really blessed to have won one of his portraits at his...Read More »
19 of 44 | Posted by: Mary Snyder - Breda, IA

“What an honor to have Orv as my teacher at pekin, what a gift he had, to take our minds and empower us to see art expressed in everything. He had fun...Read More »
20 of 44 | Posted by: dar eckley - hedrick, IA

“Just a GREAT HUMAN BEING!!! I met Orval at CCC in Centerville back in 1964 and always considered him a friend. My son Josh asked if I had seen Orv...Read More »
21 of 44 | Posted by: JERRY POWER - MORAVIA, IA

“Orv, I will miss you very much as we have been friends with you for 40 years. I think of you whenever I see your art work on my dining room wall....Read More »
22 of 44 | Posted by: kathy tiemeier - prairie village, KS

“I so enjoyed Mr. Spence as my art teacher at Pekin many years ago. An honor to have known him.My thoughts are with his family. ”
23 of 44 | Posted by: Catherine Roth - Boulder, CO

“I had the privilege of teaching with Orv twice. Once at Pekin and then again many years later at Mt. Olive. Orv was an extraordinary educator,...Read More »
24 of 44 | Posted by: Christa Miller - Des Moines, IA

“So sorry for the passing of orval ”
25 of 44 | Posted by: Tony Norman - Quincy, MI - friend

“Mr. Spence taught art at Pekin High School in Packwood, Iowa, and I, like many of my fellow students loved his passion to bring out the best in all...Read More »
26 of 44 | Posted by: Becky Greiner Callahan - Osakis, MN

“I was lucky enough to have Mr. Spence at MU. I graduated in 2001, which was his last year there. He was an amazing guy, and enjoyed his job so much....Read More »
27 of 44 | Posted by: Jodie Kimm - Blairstown, IA

“Orv, you will be missed. I will remember you for your infectious smile and zest for life! My heart goes out to all who knew and loved you. ”
28 of 44 | Posted by: Cheri Estes - Clive, IA

“What a pleasure it has been to know this amazing mam. His witty good humor entertained many of for years. Our hearts go out to this family and the...Read More »
29 of 44 | Posted by: Bruce and Marvis Templer

“My deepest sympathy to Mr. Spence and his family at this time. He was an amazing teacher and an even more amazing man. Sending prayers to your family...Read More »
30 of 44 | Posted by: Joanne Kurtz Doria - Silverdale, WA

“What a sweet man.always made me smile on Facebook. Rest in peace. ”
31 of 44 | Posted by: Rebecca Coyne - Ottumwa, IA

“Mr.Spence was a great teacher at Pekin.He taught us all the Beauty of art and music. He will be greatly missed by everyone at Pekin. He was a...Read More »
32 of 44 | Posted by: Tamara Hammes - Fairfield, IA

“No one who met Orv could've forgotten him. Warm, affectionate, brilliant, hilarious, caring, creative, and the list goes on and on. Now he is safe in...Read More »
33 of 44 | Posted by: Sandi Meyer - Urbandale, IA

“What a man to have known. Orville was. Great principle while at Moulton-Udell. He will be greatly missed ”
34 of 44 | Posted by: April Marth (Utterback) - Ottumwa, IA

“Sorry for the loss of a good principal friend artist humanitarian. May heve rest in peace. Prayers for the family. ”
35 of 44 | Posted by: Mary DeCook - Moulton, IA

“My favorite Packwood teacher and friend on Facebook. His death hit me hard. - Frank Hemenway ”
36 of 44 | Posted by: A friend

“To the family and friends, I am so sorry for your loss. May you find comfort in the words found at Neh. 1:4 and use God's provision of prayer to help...Read More »
37 of 44 | Posted by: Bryanna

“RIP ORV. you touched the lives of so many. You were the coolest teacher, with your love of music, and passion for teaching Art. Your name will...Read More »
38 of 44 | Posted by: Sandra Fankhauser Stramondo - FL

“The world lost a great man the day Spence (that's what we called him Pekin) passed away. So glad we got to spend time with him at the reunion in June. ”
39 of 44 | Posted by: Doug Gardner - Cedar Rapids, IA

“Thank you for being an awesome teacher. Helping us as students to appreciate "Art" and "your music!" Bill & Peg Garrels. ”
40 of 44 | Posted by: Bill & Peg Garrels - IA - student

“So sorry to Mr. Spences family. I remember him as my Art teacher in high school. Great man ”
41 of 44 | Posted by: Cindy Bowermaster (Chambers) - IA

“Goodbye Orv. So many great memories of you. Thank you from one of your many students at Pekin. ”
42 of 44 | Posted by: Sallie Hinshaw Hayes - Fairfield, IA

“Uncle Orv as I called him, will be sorely missed. The definition of a nice man who loved his family and friends more than anything. Knowing him was...Read More »
43 of 44 | Posted by: Angelo Alesia - Oswego, IL

“Orv was a great guy and good friend thru out 11 1/2 years of school. Will be missed greatly. Rest in peace dear friend. ”
44 of 44 | Posted by: John Rhodes - Rockdale, TX

Bible Emblem

Orval Earl Spence Jr., Ankeny, Iowa, age 73, departed his earthly life on August 7, 2018 at Mercy Hospice in Johnston, Iowa following a brief battle with pancreatic cancer. He was surrounded by family and friends during his journey home.

Visitation will be held from 5-7PM on Thursday, August 9, 2018 at Memorial Services of Iowa Funeral Home, 4208 N. Ankeny Blvd. Funeral services will be held at 10:30AM on Friday, August 10, 2018 at Messiah Lutheran Church at, 6270 Merle Hay Road, Johnston, IA.

Orv had an infectious personality, a witty sense of humor, and cherished the connections he made with people over the years. He never forgot a name or a face and had a tremendous impact on the thousands of students he mentored over the years, many of whom remained close to him throughout his life. His passions included: drawing, painting, and photography; golfing with his friends; and following the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team. He also had an immense love for music, attending many concerts, and was a life-long Moody Blues fan. He relished spending time with his friends and family and he will be dearly missed.

Orv was born in Unionville, MO on December 15, 1944 to Mary Valdean Gray, while his father, Orval Earl Spence Sr., was serving overseas in WWII. He spent his childhood in Unionville, where he lived with his grandparents, Mary and Jay Gray, and attended Putnam County Schools. He subsequently attended Northeast Missouri State College (now known as Truman State University) in Kirksville MO, earning a degree in Education. On July 20, 1968 he married his college sweetheart, Riceé Louise Hart, in Unionville, MO. From this union came one son, Jeffrey Allen Spence.

Orv spent most of his career at Pekin Community Schools in Packwood, IA, where he taught art and photography for over 25 years. During his last few years at Pekin, he served as the school curriculum director. In 1994, Orv left Pekin to serve as Principal for Moulton-Udell Schools in Moulton, IA and then Tarkio Community Schools in Tarkio, MO. In 2003, Orv retired from public schools and he and Riceé moved to Johnston, IA to be near family. Shortly thereafter, Orv began serving as principal and teacher at Mount Olive Lutheran School in Urbandale, IA until he fully retired from his career in education in 2013.

Following Riceé's passing in 2014, Orv was blessed to find love again. For the past 3 1/2 years, Orv and his best friend and loving partner, Janie Brinker, split time between their homes in Ankeny, IA and Carroll, IA. They had tremendous love and affection for each other and spent a great deal of time traveling and enjoying making memories with friends and family.

Orv is survived by his son, Jeff, daughter in law, Nikki, and grandsons, Noah and Hayden, of Clive, IA, partner, Janie Brinker, of Ankeny, IA and half-sister Judy McDonald, of Unionville, MO. He was preceded in death by his wife, parents, half-brother Bill Womack, grandparents, and many aunts and uncles.

As Orv's family, we would like to thank all those who have surrounded us with their care and compassion during this difficult time.

Memorial donations in memory of Orv may be made to to Mercy Hospice at