Willie Spencer

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This article is about the Methodist minister. For the founder of Motion Industries, see William Spencer III.

Willie B. Spencer ( September 23, 1923 - January 19, 2006) was a teacher and Methodist minister and elder. He retired in 1994 after a 46 year career in 36 different churches and settled in Hueytown where he pursued his love of gardening.

Spencer was born in Slate Springs, Mississippi to Willie B. and Lora Burson Spencer who farmed cotton. His mother died when he was 7. By age 16 he knew he was called to be a preacher. He was ordained at a Baptist church while serving in the U. S. Army in 1944, converting to Methodism in 1949. He returned to Mississippi and enrolled at Rust College to get a degree in secondary education. He taught social studies and history in Mississippi for ten years, selling produce, cosmetics and clothes in addition to his preaching to support his growing family. In 1966 he left Mississippi and became the first African American to attend the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta. He earned his bachelor's and master's of divinity there while working as a hospital dispatcher and preaching on weekends.

In 1990 while visiting an elderly member of his congregation at Baptist Medical Center Princeton, Spencer met and fell in love with his second wife, Rosetta, the patient's grandaughter. Diagnosed with heart disease, his health deteriorated. He died at home with his wife at his side in January, 2006.

Reference

  • Walton, Val (April 2, 2006). "He loved God, his garden." Birmingham News.