Richard W. "Dick" Spencer

McCallie And UTC Alumnus Spent Entire Career In Life Insurance Business

Thursday, November 2, 2017
Dick Spencer
Dick Spencer

Following a characteristically tenacious battle with cancer, Richard W. "Dick" Spencer, 84, passed away on the evening of Sunday, October 15, 2017, at his home on Elder Mountain overlooking the Tennessee River Gorge.

Dick was predeceased by his parents, Aubrey DeForest and Margaret Wood Spencer of Chattanooga.

He leaves behind his wife, Ellen Williams Spencer of Elder Mountain; two children, David DeForest “DeFo” (Patti) Spencer of Lookout Mountain; Mary Stewart Spencer (Jim) Vines of Nashville; four grandchildren, David Scott (Katie) Spencer of Buford, Georgia; Kelly Stephenson Spencer of Chattanooga; Ethan Spencer Vines and James Grahame Vines, both of Nashville; and one great grandson, Luke Morrison Spencer, of Buford, Georgia.          

Dick was born on April 14, 1933, in Chattanooga and lived his entire life in and around the city. Dick was a lifetime member of First Centenary United Methodist Church, for which he served as Chairman of Finance. In 1951, he graduated from McCallie School, then a military school, and subsequently matriculated at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He later transferred to the University of Chattanooga where he graduated in 1955.

Following college graduation, he spent his entire career in the life insurance business first as a general agent for Provident Life and Accident Insurance Co. and later as president of Richard W. Spencer CLU & Associates, Inc, where he enjoyed being a colleague with his dad, A.D. Spencer, until A.D. was well into his 90s. Dick received the CLU designation in 1963, the same year he was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army Reserve, and became a Life and Qualifying member of the Million Dollar Round Table with more than 20 years of qualification. Over the years he served as president of the Tennessee Association of Life Underwriters; Chattanooga Association of Life Underwriters; Chattanooga Chapter of American Society of Chartered Life Underwriters; and Prime Associates (an organization of employee benefit specialists). Dick was an extremely proud alumnus of McCallie and served both on the board of trustees of McCallie and as president of the McCallie Alumni Association.                   

Dick was also an avid sportsman who loved to hunt and fish with family members, his many friends in the Chattanooga area, and colleagues from around the country he met through the insurance industry. Dick spent many especially happy hours with his duck hunting companions wading in flooded timber in Arkansas. In his later years, Dick accompanied Ellen on a number of Redfish trips out of Venice, Louisiana and enjoyed watching Ellen catch giant fish even after he was no longer able to fish actively himself. He was observed by family and friends to have owned a “couple” of boats in his lifetime, and he held no prejudices regarding the ever controversial question of power vs. sail, having thoroughly enjoyed both in fresh and saltwater. On the sporting front, he served as Chairman of the Chattanooga Committee of Ducks Unlimited, president of the Chattanooga Retriever Club, and was a member of the Moccasin Bend Gun Club. Dick was an especially loyal and active member of the Mountain City Club, for which he served as secretary and president. A written history of the club notes that during Dick’s tenure as President, “the club underwent possibly its most historic change – the admission of women as regular members.” His dedication to public service also included serving on the Board of Goodwill Industries and as a member of the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce, the Good Government League, and the Kiwanis Club.

A Celebration of Dick’s life will be led by First Centenary Pastors Dr. Al Bowles, Dr.David Harr, and Dr. Linda McDaniel at the McCallie School Chapel, 500 Dodds Ave., Chattanooga, Tn. 37404, at noon on Saturday, Nov. 11, following a private family burial service. The family will host guests at a reception in the McCallie Dining Hall following the celebration and asks that in lieu of flowers, any gifts be made to McCallie School, First Centenary United Methodist Church, or Hospice of Chattanooga.

Arrangements are under the care of Chattanooga Funeral Home Crematory and Florist East Chapel, 404 South Moore Road, East Ridge, Tn. 37412.

Please share your thoughts and memories at

Kelley, Jerry Dean

Elliott, Billy Ray, Jr.

Kahn, George Samuel

Jerry Dean Kelley, 79, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, passed away on Friday, December 14, 2018, in a local hospital. He was born June 23, 1939 in Sardis, Tn., to the late C. T. and Bertie Frances ... (click for more)

Billy Ray Elliott, Jr., 45, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, passed away on Friday, December 14, 2018. Arrangements will be announced by John P. Franklin Funeral Home, 1101 Dodds Ave., 423 ... (click for more)

George Samuel Kahn, 64, passed away on Wednesday, December 12, 2018. George was a graduate of Howard High School, class of 1972. Preceded in death by his parents Jerome and Edna Kahn; brother ... (click for more)


Kelley, Jerry Dean

Jerry Dean Kelley, 79, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, passed away on Friday, December 14, 2018, in a local hospital. He was born June 23, 1939 in Sardis, Tn., to the late C. T. and Bertie Frances Kelley. Mr. Kelley attended UT Martin and went on to receive his bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy from the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Memphis. He began his career as a ... (click for more)

Elliott, Billy Ray, Jr.

Billy Ray Elliott, Jr., 45, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, passed away on Friday, December 14, 2018. Arrangements will be announced by John P. Franklin Funeral Home, 1101 Dodds Ave., 423 622-9995. (click for more)

Area Obituaries

Bryant, Dorothy (Rock Spring)

Dorothy Bryant, 79, of Rock Spring, passed away on Friday, December 14, 2018. She was preceded in death by her parents, William Jessie Roach and Flavie Gilreath Roach; grandsons, Brad Rackley and Casey Rackley; sisters, Annie Kate Alexander, Elsie Barrett, Louise Greene, and Johnnie Roll; brothers, Charile Roach and Herman Roach. She is survived by her sons, Dale Rackley ... (click for more)

Whatley, Betty Ruth (Cleveland)

Betty Ruth Whatley, 89, a resident of Cleveland and formerly of Atlanta, Georgia, left this earth to be with her Savior on Saturday, December 8, 2018. Originally from Macon, Ga. she was married to her husband, Earl Whatley, for over 61 years. He was the love of her life. Betty studied Medical Technology and worked for years in the Atlanta area as a Medical Technologist. She was ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Former Assessor, County Commissioner Bill Bennett Dies At 82; Was One Of Hamilton County's Most Popular Public Figures

Bill Bennett, who served Hamilton County as assessor of property and a member of the County Commission, has died at 82. One of Chattanooga's most popular public servants, his experiences in a two-room schoolhouse helped hone his career. He was one of six boys, along with one girl, born to Ernest and Mary Roberts Bennett on the Cumberland Plateau. Ernest Bennett farmed and ... (click for more)

County Jail Inmate Dies Early Friday Morning After Having Trouble Breathing

A 57-year-old inmate at the Hamilton County Jail died Friday morning after having difficulty breathing and being transported to a local hospital. He was identified as David Leonard Bulloch. The Sheriff's Office said, "At 3:30 a.m. , Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office deputies assigned to the Corrections Division were made aware that an inmate was having difficulty breathing. ... (click for more)