Jeff Spear, community leader, passes

jeff spear

Jeff Spear

QUINCY — Jeffrey George Spear, age 67, of Quincy, died at 4:30 pm on Friday, December 8, 2023 in his home, surrounded by his family.

He was born December 16, 1955 in Quincy, Illinois, the son of George Harry and Charlotte Hansen Spear. On June 9, 1978, he married Theresa Lynn Powers in Quincy. She survives.

He was valedictorian of his 1974 QHS class, and he received his B.A. in Biology in 1978 from Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio graduating Magna Cum Laude. He was valedictorian of Worsham College of Mortuary Science, Chicago, IL in 1979. In high school he was a member of the QHS Blue Devil Basketball Team and co-founder of the “Athletic Supporters “pep group. He was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon Fraternity in college.

Professionally he was owner and funeral director at Hansen-Spear with his wife, where he achieved his goal of helping people during a very difficult time. Jeff was active in many community organizations as he was taught early on by his parents and grandfather to give back to the community. Many of his endeavors revolved around raising or giving money to youth based organizations because ‘he didn’t hate kids!’

His interests evolved as he aged. Post college, he ran three Chicago Marathons in under 3 1/2 hours, and he liked snow skiing and sun worshipping. Always an avid Cubs fan, he added the Bears, Bulls and Black Hawks to that mix. One of his favorite pastimes was discussing baseball strategy and statistics with other fans. One of his pet peeves was when a Cardinal fan preferred to trash talk the Cubs instead of having a real baseball discussion. He was ‘old school’ in his sports beliefs. Basketball games were won at the free throw line not the three point arc. More baseball games are lost as a result of a late inning leadoff walk than a walk off home run. Later in life he began attending more Rock and Roll concerts and avoiding the sun. Jeff enjoyed traveling and was an accomplished people watcher, always on the lookout for ‘notables.’ When he was out of town, he always tried to carry a baseball and a pen in case an autograph opportunity appeared.

Most recently his favorite activities included reading, cutting down trees and splitting firewood, working in the yard, and sipping some fine California Chardonnays. Politically he was conservative and an extreme recycler. All of the baristas at Starbucks knew him as the guy who brought back his paper sleeve until it disintegrated. Did you know that burning a tree for heat releases the same amount of carbon dioxide as letting that same tree decay, but the heat produced causes less coal to be burned to generate electricity? This was another example of his love of nature.

Time spent when his family was all together gave him some of his most cherished memories. Jeff was especially proud of the accomplishments of his wife (a talented artist who used those abilities at the funeral home to sometimes achieve the impossible in restoring people to their prime), his sons (one following Jeff’s footsteps and surpassing him at the funeral home, another serving 12 years in the Air Force and following his dream to fly, and the third playing professional basketball longer than any QHS graduate) and his daughters-in-law. His favorite personal accomplishments included his academic honors, being a Quincy High Blue Devil (4th all time leading scorer with the last name of Spear), dunking a basketball in college, being elected to the QHS Sports Hall of Fame in 1998 and the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2000. He also provided children’s sermons since 1987 at Luther Memorial and Hope Lutheran Churches, and hoped to publish a book with some of his (and the Holy Spirit’s) better efforts.

Survivors include his wife of 45 years, Theresa; three sons, William (Dr. Kristin) Spear of Quincy; Nicholas (Sarah) Spear of Bellingham, WA; Kristjan (Lilian) Makke of Tallinn, Estonia; two grandsons, Zeus and Theo Spear, both of Bellingham; three Estonian grandsons, Erik, Sebastian, and Oskar Makke; two brothers, John (Lisa) Spear, Bonita Springs, FL, and Dr. Robert (Jan) Spear, of Coronado, CA; his father-in-law and mother-in law, Dr. Francis and Jean Powers; two brothers-in-law, Tom (Tina) Powers of Bloomington, IL, and Tim (Laura) Powers of Quincy; three sisters-in-laws, Peggy Phillips of Quincy, Faye (Mike) Ericson of Camp Point, IL, and Joanne (Jeff) Bergman of Quincy; numerous nieces and nephews; and his Irish Setter, Cutrer.

In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by some wonderful pets, including Gussie, Cassie, Sonoma Red, Aspen (Nick and Sarah’s wonderful Great Dane), Artemis (Will and Kristin’s German Shorthair) and a host of cats.

Visitation: 2:00 to 7:00 pm on Tuesday, December 12, 2023 at St. John’s Anglican Parish (701 Hampshire). Service: 10:00 am on Wednesday, December 13, 2023 at St. John’s Anglican Parish (701 Hampshire) with The Rev. Patrick Smith and Fr. John Doctor, OFM officiating.

Burial: Greenmount Cemetery, Quincy, Illinois

Memorial donations may be made to Quincy University (for the Jeff & Theresa Spear Scholarship Fund). Memorial donations may be made online at https://memorials.hansenspear.com/

Hansen-Spear Funeral Directors are in charge of the arrangements. www.hansenspear.com

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