Jeremy Spencer has died peacefully aged 68. A Shipton resident since 2006, he retired from the restaurant business three years before then, and was mourned at Shipton church recently by a wide circle of friends and family.
Jeremy came to Oxfordshire with his brother and parents as a boy and made his home in Witney where he met his wife Anita. At school he won accolades for drama and public speaking. It was also then that two other important experiences occurred. First, he found himself alone during the daytime in Paris while holidaying there with an intriguing and sociable French family; a lifelong love of good food and drink had begun! The second event was his conversion to the Catholic faith. An Irishman who was doing the roadworks nearby each day that Jeremy cycled past – no doubt with a cheery wave – stepped forward to be his sponsor at the reception service.
Ever ready with a friendly word to those he met on life’s road, he never set undue store by honours though he was on the receiving end of them at Oxford Brookes (his alma mater) and also in business. As a young man in London he lost heart in his own youthful principled conservatism, and he came to long for a juster, more integrated world than many around him seemed to want. He never lost touch with the socialist and folk-music roots he went on to develop, and he played the accordion passionately and infectiously right until the end.
He lived a full life built around others. Whether Scottish country dancing or playing golf, or sharing time with his friends and family, Jeremy’s love of the North as well as the South, was always subordinate to his love of people. He kept a well-stocked table, which he shared with friends and family throughout these islands. The love and support of those around him – including his fellow golfers and many others – saw him back to a complete recovery from prostate cancer and a period of robust health.
Those past few years were perhaps the happiest days of his life, a time when his gifts of being able to receive love as well as give it were much in evidence to all. Oxfordshire had produced the young man my mother fell in love with and provided the backdrop to an energetic career and loving family. And it to was here that he returned, to enjoy a decade of well-earned retirement amid its hedgerows and seasons, to a life of family and friends and of conviviality, reflection and love.
He is massively, deeply missed – as a husband and family member and as a friend.
carus et aestimabilis, valde amatus pater, requiescat in pace.
February – March 2017