Spencer Keith Gaarder, Jr.
Yorktown, Va. – Spencer Keith Gaarder Jr., beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend passed away peacefully at home Saturday, May 8th 2021.
He is survived by his wife Kimberly Gaarder; his daughter Margaret Fitzpatrick (Brian); Brothers Sean Gaarder and Donald Gaarder; his sister Caprice Cote (Ross) and grandchildren, Jameson, Candace and Zachary and several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Spencer and Joyce Gaarder; sister Kimberly Gaarder and nephew KJ Gaarder.
Spence was born on October 16th 1956 in Miami Florida. He attended Grosse Pointe South high school in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan where he excelled at baseball and football. He continued pursuing his love of football in the position of middle linebacker at Cal State Northridge University before enlisting in the United State Air Force in 1979. Upon retiring as a Senior Master Sergeant in 2000, he continued to use his breadth of knowledge in both the contracting and civil service arenas. He possessed an encyclopedic knowledge of Stealth/Low Observable technologies, contributing to the success of the F-22 and F-35 programs.
He was an avid sportsman who loved fishing, golf, marksmanship, hunting and camping. He had a great talent for woodworking and created many treasures over the course of his life. Spence was the ‘go-to’ guy for crafting shadow boxes for his fellow service members. Scores of retirees around the world have a little piece of Spencer proudly displayed in their homes.
Spence was a passionate foodie, proficient in many cuisines, but particularly accomplished in the skills of the “grill master”. Renowned for his Grilled Tri-tip roasts and New York strips, Smoked Pork Butts and Brisket, Beef and Venison Jerky, and home crafted sausage, he always prepared more than enough to share with his many friends. He was generous with his gifts, whether hosting Sunday afternoon Green Bay Packers football games or sharing his latest creations on Monday mornings at work, everyone appreciated his skills and thoughtfulness.
He possessed a true Servant’s Heart and was always available to lend a hand, fix a car or prepare a meal. Spence’s generosity and kindness was boundless and he we be deeply missed by all who knew him.
Memorial service will be held at 2:00 PM Friday, May 14, 2021 in Langley Air Force Base Chapel 180 Dodd Blvd, Langley AFB, VA. Arrangements by Amory Funeral Home, Grafton, Va.
“The better part of one’s life consists of his friendships” – Abraham Lincoln
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