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MR. RICHARD LEWIS SPENCER

Richard Lewis Spencer Jr. was born to the late Richard H. Spencer and Elizabeth Liles Spencer in Anson County, Wadesboro NC, on May 3, 1942.  He departed this life, Sunday, December 27, 2020, at the age of 78.

He studied classical piano at the Beckwith Piano School in Charlotte, North Carolina. At age 13, he became the organist and pianist for the late Bishop J.H. Sherman of The Church of God in Christ.

With money he earned from performing, Spencer helped his mother support his younger brothers and sisters. He also taught his siblings how to play instruments of their own.

Richard L. Spencer held a Masters degree from the University District of Columbia.  He also attended NC A&T State University, Johnson C. Smith University, The University of Phoenix and Pembroke University.  He studied  for his PhD at Howard University.

Richard L. Spencer was an American musician and teacher. He played tenor saxophone in Otis Redding's band, behind Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions with The Winstons. He was awarded a Grammy Award (R&B Songwriter Of The Year 1969) for his composition "Color Him Father".  Richard was also the singer of the mega-hit with The Winstons on Metromedia Records. He also wrote the Amen Break which has been sampled by Artist such as Dr. Dre.

Richard L. Spencer retired from the Washington DC Metro system in 2000 and became a licensed Baptist Minister and high school teacher in Montgomery County, North Carolina. He also taught for many years in the Anson County school system in Wadesboro NC. 

He was also the author of The Heir, and The Molasses Tree: A Southern Love Story.

Richard was inducted in the North Carolina Hall of Fame and DC Legendary Musicians Award. These are just a few of his many accomplishments.  Even though Spencer left the recording industry, he never left his music behind. He continued teaching others how to play.

Richard L. Spencer cherished his son and if you ever talked to him that was his main focus, Richard Spencer III.

He is now united with his mother, Elizabeth Spencer, his father Richard H Spencer, his grandmother, Johnsie Robinson, his brother, Carnel Spencer, his sisters, Barbara Ann Spencer and Kelly Tracy Spencer who preceded him in death.

He leaves to cherish loving and fond memories one son, Richard Lewis Spencer III, Reston, Virginia. His brothers, Shelton Rodney Spencer (Brenda-Baye), Wadesboro, NC and Joey Byrone Spencer (Deborah), Raleigh, NC.  Two sisters, Sharry Diane Spencer, Wadesboro, NC and Sheila Spencer Whitehurst (Kenneth), Raleigh, NC. 

Nieces: Toye Spencer Wall, Stacy Dadzie (Emmanuel), Hillary Moye, and Shannon-Spencer Pickett (Travis). Nephew, Sean Sextur Spencer.

Great nieces and nephews: Robert Wall (Juanita), Kalil Abraham, Amani Wall, Cameron Wall, Keion Abraham, Kadrian Gooding, Kennedi Lane, Hugh Elliott, Beaulaymone Harris III, Khamani Spencer, Kamryn Spencer, King August Pickett, Kristina Puthama.

Great-Great nieces and nephews: Zakiyah, Zari, Kingston, and Jayla.

Richard held a special place in her heart for: his students, his friends, and colleagues.

Richard was a father to many, but his only son held the key to his heart.



The Celebration of Life for Mr. Spencer was held on  Sunday, January 3, 2021, 2:00pm, in the Chapel of Smith's Funeral Home, 604 Salisbury Street, Wadesboro, North Carolina.  


Due to Covid-19, Smith's Funeral Home requires that all attendees to the service or visitation wear a face covering and practice social distance at all times.


MR. RICHARD LEWIS SPENCER
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  • Tuesday, December 29, 2020
    Our staff will continue to keep your family in our prayers. We thank you for allowing us to serve your family.
    ~ Smith's FH
  • Wednesday, December 30, 2020
    We are so sorry for your loss. We will greatly Miss Richard regular conversation. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Love, Vernie and Helen McLendon
    ~ Vernie & Helen McLendon   Silver Spring, MD 20910
  • Friday, January 15, 2021
    Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. My heartfelt thoughts and prayers goes out to Baby Richard, Tabari, Jubys and the entire family on the passing of a remarkable, God fearing, exemplary, man and father, Richard Lewis Spencer. A lasting memory of Richard for me is where the entire family and close friends were gathered for one of baby Richard's birthday parties. Richard playing the piano while serenading him in a beautiful birthday song as he rejoiced proudly looking into his son's eyes. It will always warm my heart when I think of that priceless moment between father and son. Richard your dad is your guardian angel now. He and your mom has equip you with love, knowledge and the skills to soar. Always hold those special memories of your dad and family close to your heart when you need them for comfort. In closing, I pray that God be your tender comfort in sorrow and your strength in day to come. With my deepest heartfelt condolence. Lora Toney Family friend US Department of Commerce
    ~ Lora Toney   Forestville, MD
  • Wednesday, December 30, 2020
    Our warmest condolences to the family. Richard and I were good friends dating back to the 1960s. He was a hero musician to me. Winning a Grammy for “Color Him Father” was a huge deal for him, his band, his family, his friends and North Carolina. Richard was inducted recently to the NC Music Hall of Fame. My mother, Gloria Mask, who taught him music at Faison High School, attended the ceremony as his guests. We were SO honored to be there. We thank him for his friendship through the years. We salute him as an esteemed musician and dear friend. Allen Mask, MD
    ~ Allen Mask   Chapel Hill, NC
  • Wednesday, December 30, 2020
    Our warmest condolences to the family. Richard and I were good friends dating back to the 1960s. He was a hero musician to me. Winning a Grammy for “Color Him Father” was a huge deal for him, his band, his family, his friends and North Carolina. Richard was inducted recently to the NC Music Hall of Fame. My mother, Gloria Mask, who taught him music at Faison High School, attended the ceremony as his guests. We were SO honored to be there. We thank him for his friendship through the years. We salute him as an esteemed musician and dear friend. Allen Mask, MD
    ~ Allen Mask   Chapel Hill, NC
  • Wednesday, December 30, 2020
    Our warmest condolences to the family. Richard and I were good friends dating back to the 1960s. He was a hero musician to me. Winning a Grammy for “Color Him Father” was a huge deal for him, his band, his family, his friends and North Carolina. Richard was inducted recently to the NC Music Hall of Fame. My mother, Gloria Mask, who taught him music at Faison High School, attended the ceremony as his guests. We were SO honored to be there. We thank him for his friendship through the years. We salute him as an esteemed musician and dear friend. Allen Mask, MD
    ~ Allen Mask   Chapel Hill, NC
  • Sunday, January 17, 2021
    My heart was saddening to hear of the passing of your father Richard Spencer Sr. I never met him. However, Jubys talked frequently of the relationship between you and your father. Bases on her conversations I could tell. You was his “Pride and Joy,” his main Man, you had the key to his heart. “Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning,” So go ahead and cry, wipe your tears away and remember your good quality times you spent together. Richard has met his goal to go and be with the Lord and reunite with family members who has gone before him. So live your life so he can continue to be proud of the young man he raised so well. Submitted in LOVE a coworker and a 30 plus year’s friend to your mother Jubys Joseph.
    ~ Mr.& Mrs. Howard Ruffin   Wilson, North Carolina
  • Wednesday, December 30, 2020
    Our warmest condolences to the family. Richard and I were good friends dating back to the 1960s. He was a hero musician to me. Winning a Grammy for “Color Him Father” was a huge deal for him, his band, his family, his friends and North Carolina. Richard was inducted recently to the NC Music Hall of Fame. My mother, Gloria Mask, who taught him music at Faison High School, attended the ceremony as his guests. We were SO honored to be there. We thank him for his friendship through the years. We salute him as an esteemed musician and dear friend. Allen Mask, MD
    ~ Allen Mask   Chapel Hill, NC
  • Tuesday, January 19, 2021
    Dear Baby Richard, I was so sadden to hear the passing of your dad. Never formally meeting him only through conversations with your mom he became my friend especially when I realized he composed one of my favorite songs "Color Him Father" I told everyone I knew who wrote the song that was a blessing within itself to share with friends. Losing a dad is very hard to accept when your bond was as tight as the two of you were. Richard keep in mind that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord and you two will unite in God's Kingdom in His time. There will be times of grief but joy will always come through memories hold on and cherish every one of them and you'll feel your dad's love around you. Jubys my heart goes out to you as well because I know he was your good and true friend. As with you too my friend keep the memories alive and just know Big Richard is not gone, he's just away. Keeping you both in my prayers knowing God will keep you both safe in His arms....Lovingly Pat & Rickey Robinson??????
    ~ Patricia Nelson Robinson   Landover, MD
  • Friday, February 12, 2021
    wow , Richard was quite a Man , Brother in the lord. When I was in Junior high in Chicago, listened to Color Him Father . You could see the Story. So in line with Black men of the Sixties. Much moor I love to share about that song, but for now I'll Just say , May You ' RIC ' Rest In Christ my Brother. Ralph Shorter , MGM Mercy and Grace Min.
    ~ William SHORTER   PERRIS, CA
  • Wednesday, December 30, 2020
    Our warmest condolences to the family. Richard and I were good friends dating back to the 1960s. He was a hero musician to me. Winning a Grammy for “Color Him Father” was a huge deal for him, his band, his family, his friends and North Carolina. Richard was inducted recently to the NC Music Hall of Fame. My mother, Gloria Mask, who taught him music at Faison High School, attended the ceremony as his guests. We were SO honored to be there. We thank him for his friendship through the years. We salute him as an esteemed musician and dear friend. Allen Mask, MD
    ~ Allen Mask   Chapel Hill, NC
  • Wednesday, December 30, 2020
    Our warmest condolences to the family. Richard and I were good friends dating back to the 1960s. He was a hero musician to me. Winning a Grammy for “Color Him Father” was a huge deal for him, his band, his family, his friends and North Carolina. Richard was inducted recently to the NC Music Hall of Fame. My mother, Gloria Mask, who taught him music at Faison High School, attended the ceremony as his guests. We were SO honored to be there. We thank him for his friendship through the years. We salute him as an esteemed musician and dear friend. Allen Mask, MD
    ~ Allen Mask   Chapel Hill, NC
  • Wednesday, December 30, 2020
    Our warmest condolences to the family. Richard and I were good friends dating back to the 1960s. He was a hero musician to me. Winning a Grammy for “Color Him Father” was a huge deal for him, his band, his family, his friends and North Carolina. Richard was inducted recently to the NC Music Hall of Fame. My mother, Gloria Mask, who taught him music at Faison High School, attended the ceremony as his guests. We were SO honored to be there. We thank him for his friendship through the years. We salute him as an esteemed musician and dear friend. Allen Mask, MD
    ~ Allen Mask   Chapel Hill, NC
  • Wednesday, December 30, 2020
    Mr. Spencer will be deeply missed. Praying for joyful memories to give you peace.
    ~ Nancy Harrington   Wadesboro, NC
  • Thursday, December 31, 2020
    We were deeply sadden to hear of the passing of Richard Lewis. We have been and will continue to pray for each of you. We love all of you!!!
    ~ Eddie and Emily Maske   Peachland, NC
  • Thursday, December 31, 2020
    God bless the Spencer family. Richard was a talented piano student of mine dating back to the 1960s at Faison High School in Wadesboro, NC. He was a joy to work with. He went on to become a Grammy award winning musician and we all were so proud of him. My son, Allen Mask, and I attended the ceremony when he was inducted recently into the NC Music Hall of Fame. He was a shining light not only for his family but for all of us in his circle of influence. We thank God not only for his musicianship but for his kindness and friendship. Gloria Mask
  • Saturday, January 2, 2021
    Richard was a very dear friend. I shall always remember his kindness and weekly intellectual conversations. I will miss him dearly.
    ~ Dr. Elaine Herndon Yarborough   Durham, NE
  • Saturday, January 2, 2021
    My condolences to Richard and family. Mr.Spencer was my Social Studies teacher at AHS. He gave incredible insights about global matters. I will cherish is teaching and great stories. RIP Mr. Spencer.
    ~ Kristy Sharpe   San Antonio, TX
  • Saturday, January 2, 2021
    My condolences to Richard and family. Mr.Spencer was my Social Studies teacher at AHS. He gave incredible insights about global matters. I will cherish is teaching and great stories. RIP Mr. Spencer.
    ~ Kristy Sharpe   San Antonio, TX
  • Saturday, January 2, 2021
    On behalf of the Hall Family, and SpiritSoul Radio Network we send our condolences to the Spencer Family. Please know that you all are in our hearts during this time of the bereavement of Mr. Richard Lewis Spencer. We give our love, and uplift our prayers to you all. May God continue to keep and bless you.
    ~ Diandra Smith-Hall   RICHMOND, VA
  • Sunday, January 3, 2021
    Richard was a kind and gentle soul of many talents. I always loved talking to him about family and just hearing his voice which was so soothing. Richard will be Greatly missed!
    ~ Gloria Acker   Flint, MI
  • Sunday, January 10, 2021
    I never had the honor of meeting Mr. Spencer but I did meet his son through a mutual acquaintance. I am also a fan of Mr. Spencer’s music, in particular “Color Him Father”. My condolences to his family and friends, a s he will certainly be missed🙏🏾❤️🙏🏾
    ~ DOUGLAS J Bell   Washington, DC
  • Sunday, January 10, 2021
    I never had the honor of meeting Mr. Spencer but I did meet his son through a mutual acquaintance. I am also a fan of Mr. Spencer’s music, in particular “Color Him Father”. My condolences to his family and friends, a s he will certainly be missed🙏🏾❤️🙏🏾
    ~ DOUGLAS J Bell   Washington, DC
  • Monday, January 11, 2021
    Richard please accept my sincerest condolences in the loss of your dad. You were indeed his greatest blessing and he loved you immensely. A parent’s greatest concern is not being there for their child and although God has called Richard to his heavenly home, he went knowing that he had instilled in you the best of him. He armed you with the tools he knew you’d need to navigate this world without him and is counting on you to be all that you can be. It was his greatest honor to be your dad and to have you as his son. So in the days and weeks ahead please be comforted in knowing that the Bible says, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” You will see your dad again and remember love leaves a memory no one can steal. I love you and am praying for you.
    ~ Rhongelyn Moore Narh   Brandywine, ME
  • Monday, January 11, 2021
    Jubys I was so sorry to hear about the passing of “Big” Richard. I know what you meant to him and know what he meant to you. There are so many fond memories that stream through my mind of you, Richard, Tabari and ‘Baby’ Richard as you loved to call him. The birthday parties and family outings. I remember assisting Richard with his dissertation when he was pursuing his doctorate degree and found him to be quite humbling. I thought he had a brilliant mind and found it very admirable when he returned to his hometown roots to raise Richard and become a teacher. You gave him one of life’s greatest blessings and enjoyed a friendship that weathered many storms. I have no doubt that he knew that he was leaving his most precious commodity in the most capable of hands and is smiling down in his knowledge that you and Richard will be alright. You know I am praying with and for you. Love you!
    ~ Rhongelyn Moore Narh   Brandywine, ME
  • Monday, January 11, 2021
    My family sends their warmest condolences in the recent passing of Richard. We know that his loss is great and that he left an indelible mark on his family and all who really got to know him. We mourn with you, pray for you, and ask God to wrap His arms around you.
    ~ Rhongelyn Moore Narh   Brandywine, MD
  • Monday, January 11, 2021
    My family sends their warmest condolences in the recent passing of Richard. We know that his loss is great and that he left an indelible mark on his family and all who really got to know him. We mourn with you, pray for you, and ask God to wrap His arms around you.
    ~ Rhongelyn Moore Narh   Brandywine, MD
  • Monday, January 11, 2021
    My condolences to you and your family during this difficult time. I pray that Jesus wraps his loving arms around you as you go through this phase in life.
    ~ Iris Batch   MD
  • Thursday, January 14, 2021
    You lived a full life and passed the test to also be at the right hand of the Father along with many who are in heaven's gates. You gave me a love for music when at a young age you gave me a cassette tape of Nate King Cole's route 66. I would listen to that tape until my eyes would close. You also introduced me to Otis Redding's " Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay" and that led me to explore the likes of Sam Cook, Aretha Franklin, and just about every artist from those times and even Blaxploitation movies. We also loved our share of gangster films and I still do to this day. But I mention the past because without you... my mind would not be open to a time before because you were always a phenomenal storyteller when you talked about your past accomplishments and growing up in Wadesboro at times I felt like I had a front-row seat. I will always appreciate bringing my dad to graduation and introducing me to a real Christmas with many gifts and a tree to decorate. Your legacy is still here on earth in your son Lil Richard and he will make you proud. God has you along with a multitude of His children so continue to enjoy your new home and when the good Lord calls for us we will once more for good. Thanks for always asking for me and thinking of the girls. Till next time!
    ~ Tabari Peters   Gaithersburg, MD