A.J.  Spence


A.J. Spence was born December 20, 1942 in Duncan, OK to Thurston and Alice Ruth Jones Spence. It is not bragging to say that Alice and Thurston had three very smart boys, and Jay was the oldest of the brothers. Jay attended Duncan schools and graduated in May, 1961 from Duncan High School. During his early school years he earned money by throwing papers for the Duncan Banner. Jay bought a bicycle but quickly moved to a scooter. This began Jay's lifelong love of motorcycles. Jay spent a lot of time on his Harley motorcycle in the 1970' and '80"s. For a time he raced motorcycles on a dirt track and wore out many a pair of boots leaning into the corner on the turns on his Indian Motorcycle. During high school Jay was an usher and projectionist for the Palace Movie Theater. He could splice, change reels, and watch for the "change over' marker with the best of the projectionists. After graduation Jay spent a year in San Francisco, California working and learning about computers under the watchful eye of his Uncle Don.

Jay married Phyllis Monday in Duncan, Oklahoma in June, 1962. They made their home in Duncan and both worked for Halliburton Oil and Gas. They quickly wanted to start their family and to secure a better future for their family Jay checked out books at the local library and would go in their bedroom at night to read and study course-books on computer programming. He became proficient enough to take and pass the test to qualify him for a computer programmer position.

Jay enlisted in the U.S. Navy on March 21, 1966 with the goal of making a career in computers in the service. His basic training was completed at the U.S. Training Center in Great Lakes, Il and he completed his computer courses at the IBM Education Center in San Francisco, CA. Jay and Phyllis' first duty was the Naval Base at Norfolk, Virginia with the U.S. Atlantic Fleet. They made many friends and were establishing their life in the Navy.

In 1968 Jay ordered the red Corvette of his dreams. Before it was shipped, he and Phyllis received the happy news they had been waiting for, they were going to have a baby. Jay cancelled the Corvette and, as she said, he got a better deal, a baby boy instead. Scott Reed Spence was born April 2, 1969 in Norfolk, VA. They were beyond happy. Shortly after Scott's birth Jay accepted an assignment with Fleet Intelligence Center at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. It was a happy time liviing the Navy life with his family.

In 1971 Jay began his career as a programmer with Oklahoma Department of Human Services in the Management Information Computer Center. Jay held many management positions within the computer center, retiring in 1995 as the Network Administrator for one of the largest computer centers and networks in the state. Jay met his lifelong friend Larry Harmon at MID and together they were part of ushering in many changes in technology for the agency, including the largest information systems undertaking in government developing and implementing the Child Welfare KIDS system with a joint DHS and Deloitte and Touche Project Team. Larry was the Wow. Jay was the How. Through those years Jay considered his work family as Family and for many years they were his lifeline. There were many heated debates about how a project could be accomplished. At the end of the meeting Jay would always say "let's go get a cup of coffee" - his way of keeping it just business, not personal. He would often hug you too tight or slap you on the back too hard. He had every component widget, and weird part on his desk. And maps, always maps on the walls. He truly loved his work family. Back in the day, at MID, we were Kings. Jay retired in 1995 and spent a few more years as a consultant with MicroAge before fully retiring from the computer- industry. A.J. was a long-time member of the America Public Welfare Information Systems Management Association (APWA/ISM).

On May 4, 1994 Jay married Judy Johnson. They met at work and at the time of his death they had been together thirty-seven years. After retirement they spent their time enjoying their growing family of grandkids, nieces, nephews, and "the greats". His family was the light of his life. His goal was to see his grandchildren graduate high school. They have gone on to do so much more. He was so proud of his son Scott, in every way. They are so very much alike. His nieces and nephews were special and he considered them extended daughters and sons. Jay and Judy spent a lot of time in Carnegie with Judy's parents where Jay and his mother-in-law Frances would debate the stock market, the price of wheat, the state of the oil and gas industry, and the price of a good cow-calf pair. There were many trips to the farm with Walt and Frances and always a good lesson to be learned in Farming-101. In 2010 Jay and Judy moved to Carnegie to be closer to the farm. Jay adopted the town of Carnegie, and they adopted Jay. He enjoyed many good friendships in Carnegie and counted on our Cousin Group for a good time. He relied on his good friends Orval, Johnnie, and Dennis everyday, especially towards the end. Orval showed him new roads in the countryside. Johnnie kept his health going and, when it didn't, Johnnie called the ambulance. Dennis was a patient partner, friend, and mentor in the farming business. Jay completed his vision of a water well, a new barn and gates, and conservation practice. He even adopted a new Longhorn in 2007 that he loved. He was a great cook! He loved Asian food. He believed hot sauce belonged on everything. He was a member in good tanding of the Ancient and Honorable Order of the Turtle, Kindblade Disambiguation. He loved a good day at the racetrack with the ponies. A.J. knew a little bit about everything. He could be counted on as a loyal friend. He was always interested in finance, business, math, technology, and later farming! He spent a good part of his life caring for others. He was a member of the First Christian Church of Carnegie and cherished his prayer warrior and Sunday school teacher, Margaret. He was a terrible joke teller, but told them anyway and thought he was funny. And, that made us laugh all the more at his jokes. He is sure going to be missed by his large circle of extended family and friends. We will see him on the Otherside.

Survivors: Wife, Judy, of the home in Carnegie, OK
Son: Scott & wife Kelly Spence, Ft. Worth, TX
Grandchildren: Ian Spence, College Station,, TX
Addison Spence, Waco, TX
Rylee Spence, Ft Worth, TX
Brother: Dan & wife Gayle Spence, Del City, OK
Niece: Tina & husband Brad Seaborn, Meeker, OK
Nephew: Chris Spence, Oklahoma City, OK
Nephew: Charles Spence, Colorado
Brother In Law: Don & wife Melodee, Edmond, OK
Nieces: Shara & husband John Zimmerman, Hochatown, OK
Stephanie & KC King, Maricopa, AZ
Great Nieces and Nephews: Coleman, Casie, Kyle, Landon, Riana, Evy, Henry Walter, and James Jay
Special Cousin Gary and wife Karen Jones, Oklahoma City, OK

Preceded in death by his parents, his brother Guy Craig Spence, and wife Phyllis Monday Spence and father in law and mother in law, Walter and Frances Johnson.

In lieu of flowers the family requests donations to the Carnegie Tri County Muicipal Hospital, PO Box 97, Carnegie, OK

Memorial Service: 11:00 am Tuesday, July 9, 2019
First Christian Church, Carnegie, OK

Under the direction of Ray & Martha' s Funeral Home, Carnegie, OK
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Published on July 6, 2019
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