Robert W. Spencer ’55

Deceased January 1, 2010

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In Memory

Bob died Jan. 1 at his home in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, as a result of complications from open-heart surgery a year ago. Longtime residents of Grosse Pointe, Mich., Bob and Judie had been living in Mexico since 1997.

As former president of the Detroit Economic Growth Corp., which he helped found, Bob was regarded as a catalyst and visionary thinker in his efforts to bolster the economic progress of Detroit. He served as president of the nonprofit agency from its creation in 1978 until his retirement in 1994.

As reported by the Detroit Free Press, “Bob was the right guy in the right place at the right time for Detroit. He was always the go-to guy who negotiated and set the tone for getting all sides working together toward a common goal.”

Prior to being DEGC president, he was executive vice president of New Detroit Inc., established in the wake of the 1967 Detroit riot to promote better relations between the races.

We all share Bud Sorenson’s thoughts as expressed recently: “Bob was one of my roommates freshman year. I have nothing but fond memories of him. Tall and friendly, he has a ready smile, a good mind and a wonderfully wry sense of humor. I liked him ever so much, …”

Abe and Mary Jo Moses hosted Bob, Judie, Joan and me in their home in Florence, Mass., during our 50th Class Reunion celebration. We shared warm, memorable reminiscences with each other and had a thoroughly wonderful time.

Following his graduation from Amherst, Bob earned graduate degrees from HarvardUniversity and the University of Michigan in 1961.

In addition to Judie, Bob is survived by daughters Jane Spencer-Mills ’87 and Emily Spencer Lukacz; a son, Robert; a brother, James H., Jr. ’52; and three grandchildren.

Dick Strand ’55