Rufus Richard Spence, 85 of the Baptist Valley community in Cedar Bluff passed away unexpectedly on Thursday, March 23, 2017 at Carilion Tazewell Community Hospital. Born Sept. 1, 1931 in Bluefield, West Virginia, he was a son of the late H.E. and Gracie Asbury Spence.
He was a longtime member of Bundy’s Chapel Baptist Church and recently attended Tazewell Christian Church and Cliffield Christian Church where he had served as interim pastor. He also served as interim pastor at several other area churches.
Rufus retired from Tazewell County School System after 30 years of service, teaching at Tazewell High School and serving as principal of Jewel Ridge, Raven, Rivermont and Bandy Elementary Schools.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by two sisters, Jane Orr and Clara Belle Spence; two brothers, H.E. “Red” Spence, Jr. and Fred Spence.
He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Mary Rae McCoy Spence; two daughters, Pam Matney and husband, Tony of North Tazewell, and Patricia Handley and husband, Rob of Lenoir, North Carolina; five grandchildren, LeAnn Smith and husband, Harvey of Martinsville, Brandi Horne and husband, Joe of Summerville, South Carolina, Jenna Godbey of Lenoir, North Carolina, John Godbey serving in the USAF stationed at Beale Air Force Base in Marysville, California, and Kaitlyn Peters of Lenoir, North Carolina; four great-grandchildren, Mary Beth, Alexandria, Anders and Abbigail; also special “Granddaughter” Kelly Shaver and “great grandsons” Austin and Jax; sisters, Mary Ellen Hall and Frances Nash; brother, Robert Spence; many friends, former students and several nieces and nephews.
The funeral was held at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 26, at the McCoy Funeral Home in Blacksburg with the Reverend Gary McCoy officiating. Burial followed at the McCoy Family Cemetery in McCoy.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions be made to a favorite charity.
Online condolences may be sent to www.peerystclairfuneralhome.com