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The Mount Ayr Record-News, 1933

DEATH CLAIMS HON. R. H. SPENCE.

Aged and Respected Lawyer Dies After a Three Weeks' Illness

After an illness of three weeks' duration, Hon. Robert H. SPENCE, oldest member of the Ringgold county bar and a resident of Ringgold county 62 years, died at his home in Sheldon Heights at 6 o'clock Saturday morning, October 7. The end came peacefully and marked the close of a long and useful life.

Mr. SPENCE suffered a stroke of paralysis Wednesday, September 13, while on the way to Des Moines to attend to legal business and to accompany his grandson, John SPENCE, that on his way to Iowa City to resume his studies at the State University of Iowa. His condition was such that on the advice of his physician he was taken to a hospital in Des Moines and after a few days in the hospital his wish to return home was gratified and he was brought by ambulance to his home in Mount Ayr where he gradually grew weaker until life passed out. He retained his fine faculties of mind until the end. He was born in Henry county, Illinois, April 15, 1852, and was therefore 81 years, five months and 22 days old at the time of his death.

At the age of 19 Mr. SPENCE came with his parents to Ringgold county. He was reared on the farm and early became a teacher in the rural schools; later took up the study of law and attended the State University of Iowa, graduating from the College of Law of that institution and being admitted to practice in the year 1875. He immediately located in Mount Ayr and continued active in practice until within three weeks of the close of his life.

On April 11, 1873, Mr. SPENCE was united in marriage to Mary E. HAVILAND, whose parents were among the pioneer settlers of Ringgold county, and a few years later death entered the home and claimed the wife and mother. He was later united in marriage with Margaret C. HERRON, who passed away February 17, 1917. He is survived by his three daughters, the Misses Maud and Lottie SPENCE and Alice [Mrs. Orr K. INGRAM], and one son, Clarence SPENCE, all of Mount Ayr; and five grandsons, Wayne and Robert INGRAM, the sons of Mr. and Mrs. Orr K. INGRAM, and John, Robert and Billy SPENCE, the sons of Mr. and Mrs. Clarence SPENCE. Two brothers, Joseph E. and George SPENCE, of New Mexico, also survive him. The brother Joseph, of Anthony, N.M., visited him a few weeks before he was taken ill and one grandson, Robert INGRAM, visited him during his last illness, leaving Friday for his home at Fowler, Colo. One grandson, Wayne INGRAM, who was graduated from the School of Law of the University of Iowa 49 years after his grandfather was graduated from the same school, and who began practice with the firm of SPENCE and BEARD in Mount Ayr, later going to New York City to engage in practice, was also with his grandfather during his last illness.

During the 58 years he was engaged in the practice of law in Mount Ayr Mr. SPENCE was borne the deserved reputation of an able lawyer who conscientiously served his clients, and whose fine legal mind commanded respect. During the years he was in turn associated in practice with Capt. R. F. ASKREN, Judge I. W. KELLER, Judge R. C. HENRY, Albert I. SMITH and for the past twenty years with H. C. BEARD. It was ever his delight to assist young men and a number of young men who have been successful in the practice of law received their initial training under the tutelage of Mr. SPENCE.

Probably no citizen of Ringgold county enjoyed a wider acquaintance than did Mr. SPENCE. A profound student, he kept informed in regard to national and state affairs, ever manifested a keen interest in politics and enjoyed personal acquaintance with men prominent in political circles throughout the nation. While never a candidate for office, except the office of county attorney of Ringgold county, in which he served with distinction, he was in attendance at many of the national republican conventions and most of the republican state conventions during the past half century. For seven years he served as a member of the republican state central committee, serving for two terms as chairman of that committee.

1898 ad, Ringgold Record, Mount Ayr IA

FUNERAL SERVICES HELD MONDAY.

Funeral services were held Monday afternoon at 2:30 o'clock at the United Presbyterian church, being conducted by the pastor, Dr. Jesse JOHNSON. The service was largely attended by friends who came to pay their last tribute of respect to the departed and the large number of lawyers in attendance at the service attested the high regard in which Mr. SPENCE was held by members of the legal profession.

Simplicity marked the funeral service. The absence of music was a departure from the prevailing custom. Profuse and beautiful were the floral tributes. Following the services at the church, the funeral cortege passed to Rose Hill cemetery where the body was laid to rest.

NOTE: Margaret C. (HERRON) SPENCE was born in 1849, and died February 17, 1917 with interment at Rose Hill Cemetery, Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa.

Transcription and note by Sharon R. Becker, 2008

To submit your Ringgold County obituaries, contact Sharon R. Becker at
srbecker@windstream.net.
Please include the word "Ringgold" in the subject line. Thank you.

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