Gene W. Spear, age 93, passed from this life on February 26th, 2021, at Forest Creek Memory Care in Overland Park, KS.
He was born on August 14, 1927, on a dairy farm in Berryton, KS. He attended a two-room school house and Berryton High School before enlisting in the U.S. Navy in 1945. He was trained in aviation electronics and deployed to Panama; while there he made a commitment to serve Jesus Christ for the rest of his life. Daily family worship and weekly church attendance nourished his soul.
He earned a B.A. degree with an emphasis in Greek at Sterling College, where he met Ruth Adams, who became his lifelong sweetheart. They were married on August 16, 1951, and moved to Pittsburgh, where he attended the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary (RPTS). He then earned a M.Th degree at Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia.
In 1955, Gene was called by the Board of Foreign Missions of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America (RPCNA) to serve in Kobe, Japan, and sailed there with Ruth and two children; three more children were born in Japan. He learned to converse and even preach and counsel in Japanese, and served there tirelessly and compassionately for 46 years, planting two churches which continue today with Japanese pastors.
He and Ruth worked as an amazing team, loving each other and their children and involving them in their work as well. He was very handy; it seemed that he could fix just about anything. He liked to fish and hunt, and had a collapsible fishing pole in his luggage wherever he traveled.
Gene and Ruth retired from Japan in 2001 to Topeka, KS, to care for his mother until her death. They moved to Olathe in 2005, where he continued teaching, preaching occasionally, and writing. In his retirement he was deeply concerned for his country, advocating for protection of the unborn and biblical morality.
Gene was elected Moderator of the Synod of the RPCNA in 1980. He became “Dr. Spear” in 1985, when Geneva College awarded him a Doctor of Divinity degree. From his alma maters he has received a Distinguished Servant Award (Sterling College, 2005) and a Faithful Servant Award (RPTS, 2012).
He was preceded in death by two infant siblings, his parents Maurice and Edna Spear, his brother Francis , his sister Doris, and three of his grandchildren, Andrea Ward, Jonathan Weir, and Peter Spear. He is survived by his wife Ruth, his brothers A. Irvin Spear and W. Howard Spear, his five children, Carol J. Wright (Christopher), Bruce A. Spear (Susan), Mary Jane Ward (Harry), Joyce A. Schofield (Charles), Bonnie E. Weir (David), fifteen grandchildren, and twenty-nine great grandchildren!
A funeral service was held at Shawnee Reformed Presbyterian Church on Friday, March 5, which can be viewed at the link below.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests making donations in memory of Gene to the Japan Presbytery of the RPCNA (check payable to Shawnee Reformed Presbyterian Church or www.shawneerpc.org/give/, General Fund–memo “Gene Spear Memorial”).