George Sterling Spencer II, age 89, passed peacefully on December 19, 2021, in Draper, UT.
George (Sterling to his family and childhood friends) was born August 26, 1932, to George Q and Lucille Spencer, in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was raised on the family farm in Spring Lake, UT, graduating from Payson High School (Class President) in 1950. He married his high school sweetheart, Janice Branagan, on April 11, 1953, in the Salt Lake LDS Temple. His love for his sweetheart and his adoration for her strength and talents was unending. He attended Snow College, followed by Utah State University, where he completed a degree in Agricultural Science.
He spent his entire career in the Agricultural industry he loved so very much. He was a Vocational Agriculture teacher in Delta, Utah, and Spanish Fork, UT, where his students and teams gained national recognition. He was a teacher at heart and thrived on helping young people recognize their potential. In 1962 the family moved to Chicago, IL, where he worked in market development and public relations for Swift & Company. In 1966 he began an executive training regimen with Swift in Clovis, NM, and one year later moved to Guymon, OK, to help open Swift’s new beef processing facility and manage the beef operations. In 1969 he became the Executive Vice President of the American National Cattleman’s Association and its successor organization, the National Cattleman’s Association, where he worked tirelessly for eleven years to strengthen the beef industry and unify competing organizations within the industry.
He was proud of his pioneer heritage and strove to instill in his beloved children and grandchildren the rewards of working hard and seeing things through to a purposeful conclusion. He did physical labor in his yard, at a leased farm, and at the family cabin to relax from the strains of corporate life. He delighted in having the family gather at the Spencer family’s Weber cabin. He became a Master Gardener and constantly experimented at creating a beautiful environment in his large yard. He enjoyed breeding Suffolk sheep, a talent developed in childhood. His enthusiasm for his prized quarter horse, Champ, helped foster a love of animals in several of his grandchildren.
His interest in the emerging agricultural futures markets led him in 1980 to co-found Summit Commodities in Denver, CO. He was appointed an officer of IBP, Inc., in 1982, where he established their commodity hedging operations, along with heading the Public Relations, Government Relations, and Foundation operations. He served as a board member of the American Meat Institute, as well as on the Board of Directors for private and public companies. During the later stages of his career George was referred to as the ‘Elder Statesman of the U.S. beef industry.’ At age 60 he retired to assist The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with the management of their expansive agricultural properties. He and Janice served their church for eighteen months as full-time missionaries. He had an unwavering faith in his Savior, Jesus Christ, and strove to serve his fellow man in many Church leadership capacities wherever he lived: Young Men’s leader, Branch President, Temple Worker, Elders Quorum President, Bishoprics, High Councils, and Stake Presidencies. He served for eight years in the U.S. Army Reserve.
Survived by his wife, Janice, Draper, UT; sons Stephen Q Spencer (Kathy), Sammamish, WA; Mark J. Spencer (Wendy), South Jordan, UT; Scott H. Spencer (Heidi), Draper, UT; seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren; brother Daniel H. Spencer (and wife, Vera), Littleton, CO; brother-in-law C. Dwight Wood, Salt Lake City, UT.
Funeral Services will be Thursday, December 23, 11:00am, at the LDS Corner Canyon 4th Ward, 13366 South 1300 East, Draper, UT, 84020. Public visitation Wednesday, 6-8 pm, and Thursday, 10-10:50am, at the Ward. Interment will be at Larkin Sunset Gardens, 1950 E. Dimple Dell Rd. (10600 S.), Sandy.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to: Utah State University, Advancement Services Gift Accounting, 1490 Old Main Hill, Logan, UT 84322-1490, and include the following information with your check: In memory of George S. Spencer, 13363 S Canyon Spring Circle, Draper, UT 84020. To leave condolences or to virtually attend funeral services please visit http://mywebcast.churchofjesuschrist.org/Events/draperutahcornercanyonstake
You may also call Utah State University Advancement Services at 888-653-6246 to make your donation.
Life Story Info
Dear Janice and Family,
We send our love and thank you for some wonderful memories of serving with Sterling and You in the Littleton Stake. We loved the opportunity to learn from two dedicated and kind individuals. May the Lord bless you and your family with the peace and comfort that only comes thru our Savior.
Kent and Bonnie
I am so sorry to hear of the passing of such an incredible man. I will always remember the kindness that George showed me growing up. He didn't have to care, but he always went out of his way to talk to me and make me feel valued. I am honored to have known such an incredible man. I am sending love during this hard time.