Spencer Harlan Landes died peacefully at home on the Flying D Ranch in Llano, Texas, on April 4, 2019, at the young age of 96. Spencer was born in Bureau County, Illinois, on July 8, 1922, to Thomas N. Landes and Clara Christophel Landes.
Spencer grew up in Bradford, Illinois, the youngest of six children, all of whom graduated as valedictorians of their high school classes. Spencer received an undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois then a master’s in chemical engineering from Oklahoma State University.
In college, Spencer signed up for advanced ROTC training then began his field training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. He was assigned to the 549th Field Artillery Battalion at Fort Hood. Shortly after December 1944, he entered combat in the Rhineland of Central Europe following the Battle of the Bulge. He participated on flights to observe and direct fire on enemy installations. He was honorably discharged with the rank of captain.
Upon returning to the U.S., he married Jewell “Judy” Bray on December 15, 1945. They met at a USO dance at Fort Sill. Judy and Spencer were married for 64 years until Alzheimer’s took Judy to be with the Lord Jesus. Spencer and Judy had one daughter, Pamela, born in Pampa, Texas, while Spencer was employed with Phillips Petroleum Co. in Borger, Texas.
Spencer had an illustrious career in the oil industry. He worked for Brown and Root in Houston for nine years, two years with Delta Tank Manufacturing Co. in Baton Rouge, then nine years with Crest Engineering Co. in Tulsa, Oklahoma. From Tulsa, he returned to Houston and established his own company, S.H. Landes Inc. The company grew to 250 engineers, draftsmen, and support personnel. His engineering company specialized in upstream petroleum processing, both onshore and offshore. The company had offices in London, Brunei, and Malaysia.
Spencer was truly a member of the “Greatest Generation.” He not only served his country faithfully, but he faithfully served his Lord as a committed husband, father, and grandfather. Spencer took care of Judy for 10 years by himself as she battled Alzheimer’s. After moving to the Flying D Ranch in 2008, he continued to care for her with the help of his daughter, Pam. Then, he helped Pam, while she was a widow, stay on the ranch. Spencer obtained his applicator’s license to spray mesquite and cactus, repaired ranch roads, and designed and installed a rainwater collection system for the ranch house.
Spencer’s life was characterized by hard work, yet he had a heart for others in need. Spencer was a founding member of Grace Gathering Church in Llano. As a grandfather and great-grandfather, he desired to provide financial security for his descendants by establishing educational trusts. Spencer’s greatest achievement is his spiritual legacy. He loved the Lord Jesus and desired that his actions and words would be pleasing to his Savior. At night, when sleep evaded him as he cared for Judy, he memorized Jesus’s “Sermon on the Mount.”
Spencer was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers, three sisters, and his beloved wife, Judy. His siblings were Olive Nicholson, Wayne Landes, Shirley Steimle, Carol Klump, and Thomas Landes. Spencer is survived by his daughter, Pam Durst King of Llano; granddaughter, Laura Gambrell and husband Kirk of League City, Texas; step-granddaughter, Kelly Durst of Wellington, Ohio; his beloved great-grandsons, Spencer and Sean Gambrell of League City; as well as many nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association by mail at 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, NC 28201, or online at billygraham.org.
A memorial service was held on April 7, 2019, at Grace Gathering Church in Llano. Burial followed in Llano City Cemetery.
Funeral arrangements made under the direction of Waldrope-Hatfield-Hawthorne Funeral Home, 307 E. Sandstone in Llano. Condolences may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.