Thursday, 29 April 2010

Goodbye grandpa

My dad rang me at 7:30 this morning to say that my grandad had died in the night. This wasn't an unexpected piece of news as he was very frail and had reached the age of 94 which even these days is above average. It was still a very sad thing to be told and I had to break the news to my children. Luckily at 6 & 3 its mostly gone over their heads but I'm sure it will hit them eventually. I've gone through today in a bit of a strange haze with occasional tears but having to carry on as normal for the children.

In honour of his 94 years on this planet I thought I would explore some of the things that made him special...

 grandpa 2nd from left

The son of Welsh headmaster and a Lancastrian mother he was born in Lancashire during the First World War. The middle son of a family of 5 he grew up in a time of change and took part in the first ever Scout Jamboree.

 uniform has changed a bit!

On leaving school he joined the local bank, in the days when banking was a respected profession! I find it hard to imagine him as a young man shining up the gas lamps in the street to light his cigarette... 

He fell in love with a young hairdresser called Margaret:

and they married in 1939 just after the outbreak of World War 2.

Due to a combination of medical history and banking background Walter served in the Pay Corps in the UK. At one point he took a demotion so he could be posted near his expanding family after the birth of the first of 3 sons.

After the war he worked very hard to get the necessary qualifications to eventually become manager of a bank. His sons grew up and left home and he took early retirement to his weekend cottage in Dumfries & Galloway. This would be a place of happy memories for his grandchildren to come and visit.

© Copyright Ann Cook and licensed for reuse under thisCreative Commons Licence

Most of his siblings had emigrated to South Africa or Rhodesia and, once he retired, many trips were made to visit them and the nieces and nephews who lived out there. 

In latter years he moved to a slightly less remote village in Cumbria and then to Penrith before ending his days in Appleby-in-Westmorland.

I will always remember him for his enjoyment of the Telegraph crossword - he could do it without writing in the answers so my other granny could share the paper! He loved writing letters to us all and was enthusiastic about the research I was conducting for the family tree. Lots of family members had their only correspondence through him so I hope we can keep in touch.

I am glad my children got to meet him and hope they can remember him later.

So I hope this post was coherent as I've raised a glass or 2 of wine to his memory.

RIP Walter Spencer-Jones 2nd October 1915 > 29th April 2010

Son of Owen & Hannah
Brother of Llew, Olwyn, Arnold & Norah
Husband of Margaret
Father of Owen, Peter & Nigel
Father-in-law of Marlene, Alison & Helen
Grandfather of Mike, Becky, Vicky, Roger, Christopher, Martin & Ros
Great-grandfather of Al, Elisabeth, Ben, Oliver, Toby, Edward & Sebastian
Step Great-grandfather of Chris, Ed & Lauren
Friend to many
Missed by us all


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. What a lovely post in memory of your grandpa. Take care. x

  3. What a lovely post, a great tributexx

  4. supersinglemum ( has left a new comment on your post "Goodbye grandpa":

    What an amazing tribute! Hugs for you at this hard time and thinking of you. Well done you though for being as strong as you can for your kids xxx

  5. what a great post, a fitting tribute to a great man.

  6. Oh Becky, that last photograph of him with your baby made me cry! What a wonderful collection of photographs and memories you have.

  7. Cara that's the last photograph I have of him in way I want to remember him. After that he got more ill & frailer.

    I need a scan of their 70th anniversary photo as despite his stroke Grandpa looked happy.

  8. Lovely, what a wonderful tribute to his long and full life. Sorry for your loss.

  9. What a smashing tribute. Sympathy to you. x

  10. So sorry for your loss but what a lovely tribute to him.

  11. I'm so sorry for your loss. What a wonderful tribute x

  12. What a wonderful tribute to what sounds a great man.

    I'm so glad Tom is getting to meet his Great Grandfather and hope he gets to have some memories of him, as he's been an important man in my life.


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