OBITUARY – Peter Spence 1937-2022

Peter K. Spence passed peacefully on Thursday, December 15, 2022 in Centennial CO. Dr. Spence practiced general dentistry for over 50 years in Englewood, Colorado before retiring in 2008. He was born in Arkansas City, Kansas to Raymond Guy and Ernestine (Tina) Spence who preceded him in death. Pete attended Denver South High School where he was a talented quarterback and a three-sport athlete. While at South he met Nancy Griebel, and they married in 1958. 

Pete received a BS degree from Colorado A & M; M (now Colorado State University) where he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. He played club football for the SAE’s and studied physical sciences. After three years in Ft. Collins, he and Nancy married and moved to Kansas City where in 1962 he earned a Doctorate in Dental Surgery from the University of Missouri at Kansas City School of Dentistry.

Pete particularly enjoyed a great relationship with his dental school seat mate Dr. Pete Steinhauer from Boulder. Spences and Steinhauers were Kansas City neighbors and best friends. They spent holidays together when at school in Kansas City and Stein always kept them laughing. Upon graduation Dr. Spence joined the U.S. Army Dental Corps and served from 1962 – 1965 in Stuttgart, Germany. Pete and Nancy enjoyed extensive European travel in their VW bug. They returned to Colorado with their first three children – Kathy and Greg being born in Germany and Chris born at Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio. Meg was born a few years later at Swedish Hospital in Englewood.

In 1973 they moved from their Englewood home to a property “way out east” where they built their house on 2 ½ acres. Pete planted every shrub and tree now grown to the size of a small forest. This is where they would raise their family. For 50 years, they loved their place in Centennial. Some of Pete’s ashes will be spread on the “back 40” of their property. Pete was known around town as the driver of the lime green ‘72 Porsche with “Dr PK” license plates.

Pete and Nancy were the founders of the Spartan Youth League which they formed after discovering that youth way out east had no opportunity for a neighborhood sports league. They selected purple and gold as the Spartan colors because they got donations from the Minnesota Vikings. The Spartans to this day compete in multiple sports in the Arapahoe Youth League.

Dr. Spence was active in numerous professional groups including the American Dental Association, the American College of Dentists, Pierre Fauchard Academy, Metropolitan Denver Dental Society – serving as President in l988-89 and Colorado Dental Association where he served as its president in 1992-93.

Pete loved politics and took great joy in participating in Republican Party activities – serving as a precinct leader and working hard on Nancy’s legislative campaigns. Nancy served as a member of the Cherry Creek School Board for 12 years and as a State Representative and State Senator for 14 years in southeast Arapahoe County. He was credited with putting up more yard signs than anyone in the county. He attended Republican State and National conventions with Nancy and always stayed until the last speech was delivered. He always wondered where he went wrong that caused all four kids register as Democrats.

Spence was a member of the Valley Country Club, Denver Gyro Club, the Denver Athletic Club and the Republican Party. He enjoyed golf, tennis, gardening and socializing. He supported Colorado Uplift and Kids in Need of Dentistry. He was a 50-year season Bronco ticket owner and  loved the Colorado Rockies.

Pete was a kind and generous father – never denying his children or grandchildren anything from a car to an education. His father and grandfather set an example of “paying it forward” and he did the same.

Pete would say he had a great life – although the last few years his arthritic knees kept him from enjoying golf and tennis. Watching sports and politics on television and walking to the mailbox kept him content. Never a word of complaint or regret as long as his scotch and soda was ready at 5 pm.

Pete, PK, Dad, Poppy was dearly loved and will be missed by his family and many friends.

He is survived by his wife, Senator Nancy Spence, their four children, Christopher (Maggie Hinojosa) Lakewood, Kathryn (Deepak Choudhury) Moraga CA, Greg (Lisa Onodera) Los Angeles, and Meg (Anthony Sclafani) Lone Tree, 9 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. Pete is preceded in death by his older brother John (Donna), Port Angeles, WA and survived by his younger brother, Kimball Guy (Lori), Bellaire Bluffs, Florida. He will be interred at Olinger Chapel Hill Cemetery following private services. 

Memorial Contributions may be made in Pete’s memory to: the Colorado Dental Association and The Nature Conservancy.