Monday, October 6, 2014

#52Ancestors (40) Dallas Spencer, Born and Died Today

Today would be my grandfather's 100th birthday!

He also died in the wee hours of the morning on this day in 2000, which was his 86th birthday. He had been ill for some time and I always think he waited until his birthday to die.

Dallas Frederick SPENCER was born 6 October 1914 on his grandparent's farm in Locke Township, Ingham County, Michigan. He was the first child of Edward J. SPENCER and Lulu Gertrude FREDERICK.

The family moved to Lansing, Michigan when he was a young child. He attended the township school house as well as the Lansing public schools. He then attended the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan - which became Michigan State University in East Lansing. In 1936, he earned a degree in engineering, and was the first SPENCER to attend and graduate college. He was 'sponsored' by his uncle and aunt, and kept a detailed ledger book of every penny spent and every grade received, so as to properly pay them back.

college graduation photo, 1936

Dallas married in 1939 and in 1940, became a father. He then trained as a Naval officer and served in World War II, both in California and Japan. His engineering background helped him in his tasks as a SeaBee, lingo for the construction brigade.

After the war, he returned to Michigan, now with two daughters. He worked for the State of Michigan road and bridge department. In 1950, he accepted a position at Argonne National Laboratory, outside Chicago, and helped manage the site construction projects. Argonne was born as a scientific research lab after the Manhattan Project. He retired from Argonne in 1979.

family, 1955

My grandfather was very proud of his two daughters and six grandchildren. He did much to encourage us to attend college or learn a trade. Grandpa's signature look was a bowtie. He wore one to work every single day! And his hair was snow white for my entire lifetime. (I'm glad my younger brother inherited the early greying and not me!)

fishing in Michigan, his favorite getaway

Today is both a happy and sad day. I really miss him. Happy Birthday, Grandpa!

© 2014 Sally Knudsen