May 9, 1962 – May 10, 2021
Stuart died unexpectedly at home on May 10, 2021 as a result of a heart attack. He was born in Vandalia, Ohio to Orville and Nancy (Merrill) Spence. Stuart attended Vandalia Butler High School and graduated in June 1980. Quite an athlete, Stuart was on the wrestling team early in high school and then found his natural ability to play golf. He was a member of the high school golf team and was voted Most Valuable Player by his senior coach in his senior year. He turned pro in 1980 and became assistant instructor of instruction at Miami Golf Club in Dayton in 1982. He has participated in many state and Southern Ohio PGA Section golf tournaments. In 1984 he moved to the Monterey Bay area, where he was employed as a first assistant professional and golf instructor at Pajaro Valley Golf Club, Watsonville. He enjoyed the California weather, learned to surf, and one more sport can be added to his list. In 1988 he met his wife Karen and in 1989 they married. In 1994 he was elected to PGA membership and became director of instruction at Pajaro Valley Golf Club.
Stuart has had many, many successes here in Santa Cruz County, California. In 1991, Stuart was the coordinator of the 7th annual Pajaro Valley Golf Club Junior Golf Clinic, as well as assistant golf professionals there. Stuart also received a Richard A. Shaw Sportsmanship Award in 1999 for his volunteer work through the Family Service Association of Pajaro Valley, a crystal clear golf head. He helped initialize it and joined two others in 1999 to open the Airport Driving Range. He was Head Professional and Instructor. In 2008, Stuart was hired as the Head Golf Professional and Instructor at Eagle Ridge Golf Club, Gilroy, CA. From 2013 to 2017 he was Director of Instruction at Eagle Ridge Golf Club. Stuart longed to be back in Watsonville and returned to working part-time at the now-named Pacific Golf Centers (Airport Driving Range) and the Pajaro Valley Golf Club. Aside from playing the game and honing his skills, what he loved most was teaching. Best of all, he loved teaching teenagers, rules and etiquette, and just having fun. Some of his happiest moments were when his young clients (teenagers) he was teaching were now adults and bringing their children to him to learn the game.
His parents Orville and Nancy Spence preceded his death. Stuart leaves behind his wife Karen (Maruska) Spence, married 32 years, his eldest brother Timothy Spence, Georgia, second oldest brother Robin (Rhonda) Spence, Ohio, younger sister Barbara (Allan) Gehrich, Oahu, HI, aunt Jane Merrill ( Bob) CA, lots of nieces and nephews.
We will miss Stuarts’ responsibility, insightful humor and positive and wonderful manner very much. He was a walking knowledge of golf and pretty much all sports, as well as a huge history buff. He traveled with his wife to Tahoe, Cancun, Hawaii, Vegas, Santa Barbara and a cruise to Mexico. He loved and respected all of our pets over the years, they always called him “Papa”, he really was a great person, my best friend and companion.
A Celebration of Life will be held on 9/25/21 at the Watsonville Senior Center (Auditorium) 114 E. Fifth St. Watsonville (A one-way street on Brennan St, parking is limited, but street parking and public parking nearby). 12:00 pm – 3:00 am. Please come and share all the stories and pictures you have.
Food and non-alcoholic drinks are offered.
Check out the online memorial to Stuart Spence
Published by Santa Cruz Sentinel on September 17, 2021.