Spencer Wilson Higby, age 73 of Oroville, passed away on Wednesday, February 15. He was vacationing in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico with his wife of 50 years. Spence was born in Chicago Illinois in 1943 to parents Fred and Virginia Higby.
As young boy the family moved to Forks, Wash. Spence spent a lot of time working with his father who was a commercial fisherman and steelhead guide. Spence attended college in Bellingham where he met the love of his life, Janice. They had two children.
Spence spent 16 years working in education before he and his family moved to Oroville in 1983, becoming the new owners of Fletcher’s Sporting Goods, later renamed to Spence’s Sporting Goods. Over the years he owned and operated several businesses, including the current Spence’s Laundromat. He served on the Oroville School Board and the Okanogan County Regional Planning Commission before being elected as Okanogan County Commissioner in 1995. He was an active member of the Free Methodist Church, the National Rifle Association and the Oroville Kiwanis.
Spence loved the outdoors, going hunting and fishing with his kids and grandkids. He was also a lifelong coin collector and spent many hours with his kids and grandkids going through jars and jars of pennies. Spence loved to barter and trade. He always had several deals in the works, he went to many gun shows over the years and ran The Country Store at Orangewood Shadows (Mesa, Ariz.) for many years. Spence also had a passion for traveling. He and Janice had many experiences traveling the world. He loved teaching college students in China and took two mission trips to Africa. He shared his love for God everywhere he went.
Spence is survived by his wife, Janice, of 50 years; daughter Karla (Rod) Stucker of Oroville, son Mark (Sonya) of Arizona and five grandchildren. He was the oldest of five children and leaves behind his sisters Jeannette (Jim) Johnstone, Peg Higby and Anita Higby and was preceded in death by his parents and his brother Paul.
A Celebration of Life will be held at the Oroville Free Methodist Church in late April.
Memorials may go to the American Red Cross or to the Oroville Free Methodist Missions Fund.