Eulogy for Spencer Charles Lake
January 05, 2020
by Pastor John Partridge
Right from the start, I want to be clear that none of us want to be here. This is not the place that any of us planned to be today, and if we were truthful, all of us have other places that we would rather be. We are discouraged, disappointed, and heartsick over what has happened to our friend, relative, brother, and son, Spencer and that tragedy is what has brought us here today. We cannot get our minds around it. Our hearts hurt. None of it makes sense and honestly it just feels wrong. Something inside of us screams that parents should never have to bury their children.
But it happens.
And it’s happening here. The only comfort that we can find lies in knowing that this is not the way that the world is supposed to be. Scripture tells us that in the beginning, the world was perfect… but it didn’t stay that way for long. With the fall of Adam and Eve, the world fell with them and since then all of humanity has lived in a world that was imperfect, flawed, warped, and broken. But our hearts still yearn for the perfection that once existed, and we cling to the promise that one day the creator of the universe will return to set things right again.
As we heard a few moments ago, in John’s Revelation, God promises that one day “Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more.” (Revelation 21) Our broken earth will be repaired and returned to the perfection that our hearts somehow know. In that day, all those lives that have been stolen from us will be returned. But until then, we gather together in moments like this to lessen our pain by sharing it with one another and by holding tightly to the memories of the ones that we have lost.
Spencer Lake was born on December 16th, 1997 and almost before he could walk, began talking the ear off anyone that would listen. He could speak in full sentences before he was a year old and asked questions constantly. He was an old soul who sometimes seemed out of place in in own generation. He loved older people, and preferred old things over newer ones. He could, and did, talk to an elderly neighbor for hours at a time and wanted an “old cowboy gun” rather than something new, flashy, or popular. As kid he seemed more like an adult and complained that in Kindergarten the other kids didn’t understand him.
It’s quite possible that some of his peers found him to be a little odd because he often preferred the company of his family over that of his friends. It isn’t that he didn’t have friends, or spend time with them but, at the end of the day, he always found his way home and spent more time there than many people his age. He loved his family and he told them so… often. He had long talks with his mom about just about everything, he was fiercely protective of his sisters, he was completely on-board when his parents were thinking about becoming foster parents, and when they did, he would often take foster kids under his wing and have long talks with them when they were struggling with their problems.
At the same time, Spencer was the guy who never met a stranger, and could always make you smile. No matter what it took. He was ornery, and he would put that crooked grin of his to work when he was up to something. He was the guy who was always making funny faces, who made “antlers” by putting his opened hands on his head in front of the trail camera because he knew someone would laugh when they saw it later. He always has a quick wit and reacted fast to any joke thrown at him. He and his mom were almost constantly picking on one another. He pretended that he didn’t want to hold babies, but he did. He loved to make faces at his nieces, coo at them, or make funny noises to make them laugh. Occasionally, Spencer would try to act like a tough guy, but he couldn’t keep it up and would inevitably melt into the softy that he really was.
Spencer was a quick learner, but he usually kept his mouth shut because he didn’t like to let people know that he was smart. He was only a semester away from earning his Associates degree in welding, and had good grades, before he quit just because he didn’t like being told what to do. When he decided that being a firefighter was what he wanted to do, he asked his mom how he should go about becoming one. Angel admitted that she didn’t know anything about it and told him that he should just go down to the firehouse and ask. So, he did. And there he found people who accepted him, who mentored him, guided him, and taught him so that when he took the tests the he needed to take, he passed with what his family described as “amazing scores.”
Many of us knew Spencer to be the “outdoorsy” guy who loved to hunt, and fish, and go four-wheeling with his friends. But as much as he genuinely liked doing those things, the activities themselves were primarily important to him because the allowed him to spend time with his friends. He liked to work, he liked to be busy, and he didn’t like to be out of work. He was not a morning person, he loved music, and he liked stuff, any kind of stuff, even really dumb stuff, that made him laugh. He was deeper than most people realized, he loved his dog sometimes more than people, and we knew that he would do whatever he could to help anybody that needed it. But few people were allowed to see that side of him that he often kept hidden. He didn’t let people see that he was smart, or that he really liked learning things, or that he liked to cook. He knew more about the Bible that you might guess and would sometimes surprise people by answering Bible questions that they didn’t expect him to know. It was Spencer, after all, that got his family to go back to church. I think he tried out our church one Sunday when our son Jonah invited him, and then just told his family that he’d found one that they would like and that they should all start going together.
In the end, Spencer was a unique and special human being who loved his friends, loved his family, and we all loved him back. We are infinitely poorer because we have lost him, his wit, his humor, and his compassion for others. Like all of those that we have lost, we look forward to the day when we will be reunited once again. But until then we must comfort one another and honor his memory by doing the things that make us remember him: listen to music, do things that make you, and others, laugh, do whatever you can for someone who needs your help, hold as tightly as you can to all of your friends and family, and let them know, as often as possible that you love them and care about them. These are the things that Spencer did for us and these are the reasons that we felt loved and valued by him.
So now it’s up to us to pass it on.
Obituary for Spencer Charles Lake
Spencer Charles Lake, 22, of Fairview passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday, January 1, 2020 at his home. Spencer was born in Wheeling, WV on December 16, 1997 to Gregory D. and Angel (Alwine) Lake.
Spencer attended Barnesville First United Methodist Church and a 2016 graduate of Barnesville High School. Spencer worked as a welder for Local 798 and was a Lieutenant for the Fairview Fire Department. In high school, Spencer was a football player and on the track team where he pole-vaulted. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, riding his RZR and spending time with his family and friends. Spencer was a loving son, uncle and brother to his family and especially his “foster siblings”.
Spencer is preceded in death by his maternal grandfather, Frank Clifford Alwine.
In addition to his parents, he is survived by his paternal grandparents, Kenneth D. and Geneva Lake; maternal grandmother, Carolyn “CJ” (Kevin) Benson; siblings: Chandra (Jesse) Galford, Carissa Lake, Caden (Jennifer Farson) Lake and Tyler Lake; nieces and nephews: Chance and Layla Stevens and Madelynn and Carabella Carter; aunts: Chasity (Brian) Arigoni, Heather (Scott) Cameron and Cindy (John) Lynn; uncle, Shawn Lake; cousins: Corey, Bobby, Desi, Annalisa, Nelson, Charlie and Alex; Uncle Fred and Aunt Leota; best friends: Chase Whiteley and James Corbett; and his dog, Buddy.
Visitation will be held on Sunday, January 5, 2020 from1-3 and 5-7pm and on Monday, January 6, 2020 from 10am until the time of the service at 11am with Pastor John Partridge officiating at Campbell-Plumly-Milburn Funeral Home, 319 N. Chestnut St., Barnesville, Ohio. Burial will follow in Fairview Cemetery in Fairview, Ohio.