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Official Obituary of

Pat Joe Spencer

January 9, 1956 ~ March 25, 2024 (age 68) 68 Years Old
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Pat Spencer Obituary

Pat Joe Spencer of Helena, Montana died in his home Monday, March 25, 2024. He was 68 years old.

Pat was born on the ninth of January, 1956, in Butte, Montana to Philip Clary Spencer and Thelma Elvira Spencer. The last of six children (Linda, Doug, Sandy, Donna, and Mike), Pat graduated high school in 1974 before moving to the Helena area. As a child, Pat and his family had a small cabin on the west shore of Canyon Ferry Lake, and most summers in Pat’s childhood were spent either on the lake or trying to get to it. Pat would often do extra chores for family and neighbors to get gas money for the trip from Butte to the cabin, though as he got older, his skill with a pool cue became his best money-making strategy, and he became well-known as a pool shark, a reputation that followed him to the Helena area as well.

Pat had a sharp mind, and he enjoyed many different types of work with different challenges. At Canyon Ferry Lake, he worked at the Yacht Basin Marina in high school, then in the kitchen at Riley’s Bar and Grill, where he met his wife, Susan. Then, in East Helena, Pat worked at Casey Lumber in his early twenties and later started his own business there as Casey Truss Company. Pat also drove a school bus, was a member of the East Helena School Board for a term, and volunteered for the Canyon Ferry Volunteer Fire Department. Once Pat sold his truss company, he tried to retire, but being unable to sit still for longer than a football down, he continued to work part-time at a few places in Helena including the Overland Express, Home Depot, and even the U.S. Census. But the role that perhaps fit him best was bartender, a job he held on and off throughout his life. Pat was a collector of other people’s thoughts, views, and experiences, especially if they were different than his own, and nowhere was a better place to find them than at the bar. This sentiment remained true even after Pat became sober in 2015.

Pat’s sharp mind also made him a fantastic builder. After planning it themselves, and with the help of their parents, Pat and Susan built their first house by hand on a twenty-acre property between Helena and Townsend where Susan still lives today. He was able to plan and execute uncountable roof and floor designs during his time at Casey Truss Company, often able to read blueprints in ways no one else could. And, when the family cabin became too old to use safely, he tore it down, planned a new one, and built it, again by hand, with the help of his son, Sam. Aside from a single sketch done at Sam’s behest, the blueprints for the cabin (and his first house with Susan) only ever existed in Pat’s head.

Throughout his life, Pat was an avid outdoorsman, excelling at sports like speed skating and skiing (both snow and water varieties) with a small collection of awards and injuries to prove it. He also loved fishing (even winning the 1999 Canyon Ferry Walleye Festival with a friend) and bird-hunting, often alongside his son and his dogs. With his family, Pat enjoyed camping and canoeing, as long as there were no snakes. On his own, Pat often liked to drive aimlessly around old forest service roads, looking for wildlife, simply observing and existing in the wilderness. Pat also valued education highly and encouraged both his children to take their education seriously. He loved to read, and he enjoyed talking thoughtfully about current events and politics, especially with his daughter, Katie. With his very big and loud personality, Pat enjoyed a good debate, and he was always looking for an opportunity to laugh and to give someone a good-natured ribbing.

Pat is survived by his children, Sam and Katie, and his grandchildren, Kinsley, Max, and Calvin; his wife, Susan, from whom he was amicably separated; and his brother, Doug, along with Doug’s children and grandchildren. A celebration of Pat’s life will be held at noon on July 20, 2024, at the JFK Park Pavilion in East Helena, MT. Not caring much what other people thought of him, Pat wore his Levi’s for all occasions, so in his honor, this event will be very informal. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Helena Food Share in Pat’s memory. Simple Cremation Montana assisted the family.  

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January 9, 1956-March 25, 2024




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In Loving Memory Of

Pat Spencer

January 9, 1956-March 25, 2024




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