On Friday June 7th, 2019, Robert (Bob) Galen Spence (96) passed away peacefully at home (Newport Oregon) surrounded by his daughter Pamela (64), his dogs (Buddy & Bailey) & his bunny (BunBun).
Bob was born in Schuyler, Nebraska on November 19th, 1922 to Emily & Ora Spence. As a young man, he relocated to Omaha, NE, where he met his wife Marilyn J. Salstrom in 1952.
Both Bob and Marilyn worked for ITT trucking firm; Bob as a Diesel Mechanic and Marilyn (deceased 10/10/17) as a book-keeper. Their daughter Pamela was born two years later. In 1962, while working for PIE (Pacific Intermountain Express) trucking firm in Minneapolis, MN., Bob contracted Guillain Barre syndrome (French Polio) from live Polio vaccine and was paralyzed from the neck down for 3 years. After years of rehabilitation & daily walks with his family, Bob went back to work as a maintenance superintendent for PIE as he no longer could perform heavy mechanical work. His shop was responsible for fixing trucks for the Midwest area. He was super industrious and always working on cars, landscaping and house projects – he never sat still.
Bob also taught Diesel and Auto mechanics at the local community college and was president of the MN Maintenance Council. He retired the first time to Newport, OR near family and became the Maintenance Supervisor for PHBC (Pacific Home Beach Club) for 18 years and retired the second time at age 92. He built the pool building, enlarged the clubhouse kitchen, painted the clubhouse and shop, built the fence around the RV Park and landscaping rock and put in security lighting. There wasn’t any job he couldn’t do; PHBC RV Park replaced him with 6 people. He was always helping residents with various household/yard projects so they wouldn’t have to spend money on professionals. He had a big heart for people, yet he was a quiet, kind man.
Bob had an ironic twist of fate in his life when he, who was from Omaha, NE., was sent to battle on Omaha Beach (France) D-Day 1944. Bob earned two Bronze stars within 36 hours for fixing disabled halftracks & tanks under constant enemy artillery bombing while in an exposed position on the beach. He had to crawl between dying soldiers and numerous disabled tanks to cobble parts together to make working tanks. He advanced on the enemy allowing American soldiers to get off boats and make it onto Omaha beach. Another D-Day experience occurred on June 6, 2019 where Bob made a decision “D” and accepted Jesus Christ as His Savior with the Hospice Pastor and Pam present. Bob has arrived at Heaven’s gates! When transporting his body to the hearse, BunBun jumped out the front door, followed Bob, and stood by the hearse as a final farewell. The funeral attendant said, “That bunny loved your Dad. I didn’t know they were sensitive”. Bob is survived by Pamela (daughter), Orin Spence (Brother-Calf.); in-laws Pete Carlson (Colorado); Shirley (Salstrom); Carter & Brian Salstrom (Omaha Nebr.); Ruby (Salstrom)Schumacher (Colorado); and numerous nieces & nephews.
No funeral services per Bob’s request. In lieu of flowers, you may contribute to Bobs’ memorial bench seat which will be placed at Don Davis Veterans Park in Newport, OR by the ocean… Bob’s favorite place to walk his dogs - Contact [email protected] .