Reatha Murry Spence, 93, of Bartow, Fla., passed away on Saturday, July 12, 2014, at her daughter’s house in Marianna, Fla., with family by her side.
Reatha was born in Fort Meade, Fla., on April 3, 1921.
She was the eighth of nine children born to the late Thomas J. and May R. Murray.
A resident of Bartow since 1946, Reatha was the wife of the late Douglas James Spence, Sr. and the mother of the late Clifford Allan Spence.
Like her husband, Reatha made a career of serving Polk County. Beginning in 1949, she started a carpool to the Nye Jordan School for her son, Cliff, and other students. This grew into the Polk County School System’s first bus route specifically dedicated to serving special needs students. When she retired in 1986, Reatha left behind an accident-free driving record spanning 36 years and a meaningful impression on generations of students. When school was not n session, Reatha served the USPS as a substitute mail carrier.
Reatha is survived by her sister, Barbara A. Martin Smith of Bartow, Fla.; son and daughter-in-law, Douglas James Spence and Deborah A. Spence of Columbus, Ohio; daughter and son-in-law, Sylvia Carol Spence and Hendry and Mark A. Henry of Marianna, Fla.; grandchildren, Tyler E. Spence and Stephanie Spence of Middleton, Wisc., Tara L. Spence of Takaka, New Zealand, Meredith A. Henry and Matthew A. Henry of Birmingham, Ala.; great-grandchildren, Addison K. Spence and Eliot D. Spence of Middleton, Wisc.; Emmanuel Q. Spence of Takaka, New Zealand.
At Reatha’s request no service will be held.
In lieu of flowers, her family welcomes donations to the American Cancer Society. We are grateful for Reatha’s presence in our lives for so many years and we will continue to carry her memory in our hearts.
James and Sikes Funeral Home in Marianna, Fla., is in charge of arrangements.