Ralph Lee Spencer

February 21, 1927 - July 14, 2017

Ralph L. Spencer, 90, of Ives Hill Retirement Community, passed away at Hospice of Jefferson County in Watertown NY on July 14, 2017.  He was born in Claremont, NH, graduated from Bellows Falls High School, Vt. in 1945.  He served in the Army Air Corp 1945-1946, attaining the rank of sergeant while serving as a weather observer.  He graduated from Yale University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1951 and a Master of Education in 1953.  In 1964 he received his Doctorate in Education from Cornell University.

From 1953-1965 he served Corning City School District as an elementary school teacher, principal and assistant superintendent.  In 1965 he was appointed associate professor of education at Temple University and in 1968 became associate dean of the Graduate School of Education.  In 1970 Ralph became the dean of professional studies and professor of education at the State University of NY College at Oswego.  In 1977 he was appointed vice president for academic affairs and provost.  He also served several times as acting president and received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Administrative Services from the State University of New York.  Prior to retirement he also taught management courses in the business department until 1990 and was instrumental in developing the SUNY North Country Fort Drum Consortium for higher education.

Ralph was a member of the United Methodist Church in Oswego and Minetto, NY and was active in the North Central Conference, serving as Conference Lay Leader for several years. He was active in local music groups, sang in his church choir, played in the Central NY New Horizons Band as well as the Emeriti Jazz Quartet.

Some of his community activities included the Oswego County United Way, serving on the board of directors and as president; Central NY Industry Council, Cornell Cooperative Education Committee of Oswego County; and the SUNY Oswego’s Emeriti Association.

He is survived by his wife Marion, also of Ives Hill, whom he married in 1950; a son, Robert (Jennifer) of Vernon Vermont, a daughter Janet Quinn (Robert) of Sackets Harbor, and four grandchildren; Erica (Corey) White of Shirley, Mass.; Emily (Mark) Broderick of Portsmouth, NH, Jesse (Martha) Swann-Quinn of Syracuse,  NY and Danielle Quinn of Burlington, Vermont.

A reception will be held at Ives Hill Retirement Community on Thursday, July 27 from 1:30 to 2:30.  Calling hours will be at the Minetto United Methodist Church on Friday July 28, from 1:00 to 2:00 followed by a Memorial Service at 2:30. His cremains will be buried in Vernon Vt.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Minetto United Methodist Church, Hospice of Jefferson County, or a gift to help establish the Dr. Ralph Spencer Memorial Scholarship through the Oswego College Foundation  at 215 Sheldon Hall, SUNY Oswego, Oswego, NY or online at alumni.oswego.edu/givenow.

Schedule of Services


Ives Hill Retirement Community

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  • 1200 Jewell Dr
    Watertown, NY 13601


Minetto United Methodist Church

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  • 2433 County Route 8
    Oswego, NY 13126

Memorial Service

Minetto United Methodist Church

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  • 11 W. Albany St
    Oswego, NY 13126

Ralph's Guestbook