In Memoriam Chris Spence
Thursday, December 20, 2018
Posted by: Julianna Ems
A Message from Wesleyan Homes, Inc.
With deep sadness, we share the news that President Emeritus of Wesleyan Homes Chris G. Spence, died peacefully last night at The Wesleyan at Scenic.
Chris devoted 28 years to the ministry of Wesleyan Homes and never wavered in his call to serve the aging and their families.
Wesleyan Homes Board Chair Dr. Dale Schulz expressed both sadness and peaceful consolation for Chris and his family. He said, “His was a courageous battle with a vicious disease. We are blessed by the legacy that he left for Wesleyan Homes in the future that will unfold much in part to his efforts.”
Wesleyan President Mark Lenhard reflected, “Mere words cannot convey the deep feeling of loss at the death of Chris Spence. Not only did Chris have an incredible impact on the ministry of Wesleyan Homes, but he also was a staunch advocate for all seniors and those who serve seniors throughout the state of Texas and our nation. We are thankful every day for the calling that Chris accepted to be a steward of this very important ministry. His life’s work will continue to bless people for years to come.”
Please keep Chris’ family, friends and colleagues in your prayers. Plans to celebrate the life of Chris Spence have been set for 11:00 am Saturday, January 19, 2019 at First United Methodist Church, 410 East University Avenue, Georgetown, TX 78626. Memorials may be made to the Wesleyan Homes Benevolent Fund, or to the charity of your choice. To share memories and condolences with the family, please visit www.cookwaldendavisfuneralhome.com.
Chris G. Spence, President Emeritus of Wesleyan Homes, Inc.
After graduating from the University of North Texas Center for Studies in Aging with a Master of Science degree in Long Term Care Administration, Chris G. Spence responded to his calling and entered the field of senior care in 1977.
Chris started his career as the Director of Social Services at the Golden Age Care Center in Amarillo, Texas. In 1980, Chris interned at Wesleyan Homes, Inc., and after earning his Nursing Home Administrator License, served as Assistant Administrator for Wesleyan’s 100-unit retirement home and 98-bed nursing home.
Just a year later, in 1981, Sears Memorial Methodist Center in Abilene, Texas, hired Chris to serve as Executive Director of a 55-unit retirement center and a 60-bed nursing center. At Sears, Chris led a 3.2 million dollar expansion, which increased capacity to 93 retirement units and 117 nursing beds.
Chris returned to Georgetown, Texas, in 1989 to become the Executive Director of Wesleyan Homes, Inc., and lead efforts to grow the ministry of serving the aging. He actively participated in professional associations such as LeadingAge Texas and The Communities of Faith Risk and Retention Group, serving in various leadership roles and through these collective efforts advanced care for the aging.
In his 28 years of leading Wesleyan Homes, Inc., Chris expanded Wesleyan’s ministry to senior adults to include independent living, assisted living, memory care, long-term care, skilled nursing, rehabilitation, home health and hospice. Today, Wesleyan Homes receives 36 million dollars in revenue, employs 450 teammates and serves more than 2,163 seniors annually.
All of us at Wesleyan Homes give thanks for the life of Chris G. Spence, whose faithful service to this ministry inspired many to join in the sacred work of serving the oldest among us. The ministry of Wesleyan Homes is strong today and has a bright future because of Chris’ leadership and devoted service.
A Message from George Linial
I cannot let his passing go without mentioning his tremendous contributions to LeadingAge Texas. He devoted his career to long-term care and serving others and was an active member of the association for nearly 40 years, including serving on the Board of Directors as Chair, Treasurer, and Public Policy chair.
A strong advocate and supporter of LeadingAge Texas, he was instrumental in several initiatives over the years including the formation of a group purchasing program in 1989 and a risk retention group in 2003. In 2009 he received our highest award, the Award of Honor, and in 2018 he became a LeadingAge Texas Life Member.
Chris was a visionary force for Wesleyan Homes and was a beloved leader. But most of all, he was an exceptional family man, friend and mentor to many. We will greatly miss his advice, encouragement, vision… and self-deprecating sense of humor.
George Linial, CAE, CASP
President & CEO, LeadingAge Texas