Cover photo for Dr. John Wess Spence's Obituary
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Dr. John Wess Spence

d. February 25, 2024

Dr. John Wess Spence

A celebration of life for Dr. John Wess Spence, 93, of Monroe, LA, will be held at 1:00 PM Friday, March 1, 2024, at Jesus the Good Shepherd Catholic Church with Rev. Peter Mangum officiating. Interment will follow in Mulhearn Memorial Park Cemetery under the direction of Mulhearn Funeral Home, Sterlington Road in Monroe. Visitation will be from 11:00 AM until 1:00 PM Friday March 1, 2024, at Jesus the Good Shepherd Catholic Church.

            Dr. Spence was born on April 14, 1930, in Dyersburg, TN and passed away in his home surrounded by his family on February 25, 2024, in Monroe, LA. He was the son of a sharecropper and picked cotton on the farm from 3rd grade until 9th grade. He obtained his undergraduate degree from Murray State University in Kentucky and his Medical Degree from the University of Tennessee. Dr. Spence was a Navy veteran, he served from 1957-1963 and obtained the rank of Lt. Commander. He was also a devoted member of Jesus the Good Shepherd Catholic Church. Dr. Spence practiced medicine for over 36 years as an anesthesiologist. During his time as a physician, he was a pivotal force in forming the Northeast Louisiana Surgical Center and the Physicians & Surgeons Surgical Center. One of his greatest achievements and contributions to our area was bringing outpatient surgery to Northeast Louisiana. He was a member of the Buffalo River Sports Group for over 30 years, and also a member of Bayou Desiard Country Club, where he loved socializing and regularly attending burger night with his friends and family.

            Dr. Spence was preceded in death by his parents, Collie Marshall Spence and Norah Thompson Spence, four brothers and three sisters, and countless friends. He leaves behind many who cherish his memory and hold his wisdom dear, including the love of his life for over 67 years of devoted marriage, Alpha Leah Gremillion Spence; children John Wess Spence, Jr. and his wife Polly, Stephan Spence and his wife Shelly, Aimee Spence, Merion Sanderson and her husband Matt, and Jere Spence and his wife Lori; grandchildren (who called him Papa Doc) Laurel Blanchard and her husband Ben, Leah Spence, John Wess Spence, III, William McDowell and his wife Monica, Cameron McDowell, Brittany Rodriguez and her husband Raudel, Ladd Sanderson, Ty Sanderson, McKenna Sanderson, Sophee Sanderson, Wilson Spence, and Mitchell Spence; two sisters Betty Spence Lowery and Sandra Spence; numerous nieces and nephews; dear family friend Minnie Goldsmith; and a wealth of friends from all ages and backgrounds. 

Dr. Spence was a voracious reader. He enjoyed poetry, historical non-fiction, scholarly articles, and anything else that piqued his remarkable curiosity. He read books at a rapid, extraordinary pace and loved to discuss and recommend his favorites to anyone who would listen. He loved duck hunting and was still knocking them out of the sky at the age of 92. His favorite way to pass the time was outdoors, whether it was hunting with his sons, grandsons, and friends at his Morehouse Parish farm or enjoying sunsets, champagne, and good cigars on his back porch overlooking Bayou Desiard with Alpha. Most days you could find him enjoying his music, his azaleas and dogwood trees, and intelligent conversation in a comfy chair on his back porch. He would often dispense wisdom and life lessons of a rare quality to a rapt audience of friends and family wherever he was. He had a brilliant, sharp mind and he closely followed current events. He was known to be a mischievous, yet perfectly harmless prankster. His generosity and reputation as a charitable man was well-known throughout the community. Dr. John Spence lived a full, beautiful life.

Pallbearers will be his five grandsons, Ladd Sanderson, Ty Sanderson, John Wess Spence, III, Wilson Spence, Mitchell Spence, and Darin Pruitt. Honorary pallbearers will be his loyal friends Jim Bailey, Dean Foster, Carrick Inabnett, J.B. Landry, Leland Pruitt, and Dr. Mike Zambie. Eulogy and Interment at Mulhearn Funeral Park following the funeral will be accompanied with all military honors.

The family would like to express their thanks to all the medical staff, and caregivers for the special care given to Dr. Spence over these past several months. In lieu of flowers, it was Dr. Spence’s desire that charitable donations be made to St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital or Jesus the Good Shepherd Catholic Church. Finally, it would also please Dr. Spence if you would honor his memory by sharing a good book with a friend or donating to the library of any local educational institution.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dr. John Wess Spence, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Visitation

Friday, March 1, 2024

11:00am - 1:00 pm (Central time)

Jesus the Good Shepherd Catholic Church

2510 Emerson St, Monroe, LA 71201

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Funeral Service

Friday, March 1, 2024

Starts at 1:00 pm (Central time)

Jesus the Good Shepherd Catholic Church

2510 Emerson St, Monroe, LA 71201

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Interment

Friday, March 1, 2024

Mulhearn Memorial Park Cemetery

623 US-80, Monroe, LA 71203

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