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Barbara J. Spence

Spence, Barbara J., 65, passed away peacefully on September 2, 2017, in Denver, Colorado. Born January 19, 1952, in Johnstown, daughter of the late Vincent and Marjorie (Ribblett) Hetrick. Survived by husband, William Spence of Denver, CO; brother, Bruce Hetrick and sister-in-law, Carol (Trimble) of Lexington, KY; niece, Crystal Hetrick (John) Detzel of Georgetown, KY; and nephew Brent (Emily) Hetrick of Cincinnati, OH; two step-children, she claimed as her own, Robert Spence and daughter-in-law, Christina (Hoeglund) of St. Paul, MN and Kathleen (Kasey Spence) Comstock and son-in-law, Patrick of Omaha, NE; four grandsons, Jack, Colin, Liam, and Nolan. Also, Aunts, Norma Hetrick of State College, PA and Linda (Hetrick) Zippilli of Martinsburg, WV; five cousins, Debbie (Lehman) Cuppett, Leslie (Lehman) Clemenson, Debbie (Hetrick) Molin, Cheryl (Hetrick) Gallagher; and Brandon Shaffer. She grew up in Richland Township and graduated from Richland High School in 1969 and from Slippery Rock University in 1973 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education. Barbara grew up as a member of the Beulah United Methodist Church in Dale, the church her great-grandfather, F. E. Hetrick founded. She continued her education and completed post graduate work at the University of Pittsburgh. After teaching special education in the Garrett County, MD, schools for a number of years, Barbara moved to Denver, CO, where she met her future husband and began a successful career with the then Bell System of telephone companies and AT&T. She enjoyed traveling and loved skiing, camping, and other outdoor activities in the Rocky Mountains. A corporate transfer to company headquarters in New Jersey provided an excellent quality of life opportunity and enabled her to visit her family in Pennsylvania frequently. She particularly loved the neighbors and friends she made in Clinton, New Jersey. She was awarded the “Distinguished Member of Staff” award from Bellcore, the highest professional merit award given by the company, in recognition for her exceptional and rewarding work. After returning to Denver, she continued working at a number of telecommunications and cable related companies. She returned to school and earned a Master’s Degree from the University of Denver while continuing full-time employment. Throughout her lifetime, Barbara enjoyed her summer vacations to Myrtle Beach, the Caribbean, and her trip to Europe a few years ago that included a trans-Atlantic crossing on the RMS Queen Mary 2. She loved her family and nearly every Thanksgiving and Christmas were spent with them in either Pennsylvania or Kentucky. Barbara made friends wherever she went and enjoyed many diverse activities including quilting and participating in women’s groups involved in social undertakings. She continued to have strong ties with her many friends and family in Johnstown. She was greatly loved and she will be greatly missed. She was very active in the United Methodist Churches in Denver. A Memorial service in celebration of a life well-lived will be held at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, October 7, 2017, at Belmont United Methodist Church, with the Rev. Keith Dunn officiating. In accordance with her wishes, her cremains will ultimately be spread in one of her favorite places along the beautiful beaches of Shoal Bay on the island of Anguilla in the Caribbean. In lieu of flowers, please send a donation to Belmont United Methodist Church, 107 Coldren Street, Johnstown, PA 15904, in Barbara’s honor and memory; she would like that very much. The family is being served by the Harris Funeral Home, 500 Cherry Lane, Richland. On line condolences may be posted to www.wharrisfuneralhome.com.


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