Loving, joyful, adventurous, genuine, intense, fearless, gregarious
As a child, Spencer was in constant motion, playing outside, entertaining himself with action ﬁgures, and bombarding everyone with questions to satisfy his innate curiosity. An only child, and only grandchild, Spencer was close to his parents, John and Jamie, his Aunt Tammy, and grandparents Nana and Papa. He enjoyed playing piano with Nana, ﬁshing for the “ultimate catch” with Papa, and traveling with his parents.
An extrovert, with undeniable charm and a quick, dry wit, Spencer was gregarious, approachable and accepting. Strangers of all ages and backgrounds quickly became his friends. He had an amazing ability to resolve disputes, forgive others, and get back to enjoying life.
A natural athlete, Spencer picked up any sport but especially enjoyed lacrosse, ﬁshing, skiing, and golf. “Nothing could get him out of bed at 6 AM except a tee time,” his mother stated. A favorite spot was skiing in the Colorado Rockies where Spence pushed the limits of speed on less traveled routes and taught the sport to others. He also pushed his mother’s boundaries a bit by consistently planning his next tattoo, despite her protestations.
Spencer approached life head-on, extracting maximum fun out of every moment. While growing up, yearly spring break trips with his Aunt Tammy were a highlight. They went rock climbing, canoeing, and river rafting in the Grand Canyon. Other trips together included horseback riding, hiking, and sheep herding. Vacations with his parents included surﬁng in Sayulita, bungee jumping in Whistler, cave swimming in Mexico, and riding scooters in Amsterdam. His parents recall the joy of experiencing Europe, Hawaii, and Costa Rica together, where Spence absorbed the local culture and shopped in the cities, in pursuit of designer clothes, the coolest sunglasses, and top restaurants.
Rarely seen without EarPods, Spence listened to a variety of music genres but especially enjoyed Hip Hop artists. He never hesitated to bridge the generational gap when in the presence of his parents or grandparents by listening to Elvis Presley or Red Hot Chili Peppers. He outﬁtted his car with large speakers and drove fast while blasting music. A huge animal lover, he valued his dogs Kodi and Zeke and his cat Guido who he shared with his longtime girlfriend, Alex. “Alex and Spencer were two peas in a pod,” Jamie stated, “We are so happy that Spencer truly knew love before he left us.”
“Spencer became secretive while in addiction,” Jamie stated. ‘He wished his brain could be different.’ Through it all, Spence remained sweet, kind, and apologetic, always making others feel special. He equally relished having deep conversations and lighthearted moments full of laughter and was liberal with his hugs.
Attempting to catch up from time lost during active addiction, Spence wanted to play college-level lacrosse and graduate. In his last year, after four months of treatment, Spencer pledged to make up for what he had missed with his parents. True to his word, he spent most every weekend playing golf, pickle ball, traveling, or having a family meal with his parents. They enjoyed having him close and felt they were getting their son back. Though Spence eventually relapsed, it was a precious time together.
Believing substance use disorder (SUD) is a disease and not a choice, his parents did everything they could to love, support, and stand by Spence. Since losing him, their world is less vibrant and beautiful. “My life will never be the same without Spencer,” Jamie said. ‘He was the center of my world from the day he was born. Without him, I feel I have lost my purpose and future.”
Spencer’s parents, John and Jamie Sharp, provided the information for this narrative.
October 13, 1998-December 26, 2021-Age 23
Portrait Artist: Theresa Clower
Narrative Writer: Barbara Francois