Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor: Farewell Friend

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Farewell friend

To the Editor,

Goodbyes between friends and family are not easy and that is how it should be. This being the case, Jan. 7, 2009 was a very difficult day in Fort Scoot for the family and many friends of Doctor John H. Spencer because it was time to say farewell. The farewells, of course, began on Saturday, Jan. 3 when angels with wings shaded in blue and gray descended to Rocking Horse Farm and called John away. No one will ever know why he was called on this day and it is a blessing that none of us ever know when we will be called. There are no words that can describe how much he will be missed and this is a humble attempt to do so from a friend of many years.

The good doctor and John was that being an old fashioned country doctor, was involved in my life and that of our family for more than 20 years. As a "GP" he literally saved my life on two occasions and assisted in the delivery of our son who is almost 19 years old. I am sure that this is true for many who attended his memorial service. During the beautiful music, words of comfort, memories and moments of stillness, I believe that his spirit was present because those who were there loved and cared for him.

Dr. Spencer was a compassionate, loving family doctor. He treated each patient with dignity and compassion, no matter what there social or financial situation was. His primary concern was to provide and make sure that all of his patients received the best possible medical care that was available.

For me, John was more than a doctor. He was one of my best friends. He was "one of my Colonels" and I was his Sgt. Major. This was the result of our involvement along with Kip Lindberg and Charles Gentry in the establishment of the Mine Creek Battlefield Foundation. This is an organization that was established in 1999 to assist the Kansas Historical Society with the Preservation, Protection and Interpretation of the Mine Creek Battlefield State Historic Site near Pleasanton. To date, as a result of his leadership the foundation has raised more than $1,000,000, purchased and preserved 306 acres of battlefield land and completed numerous interpretive projects that the state of Kansas did not have the funds to accomplish.

John's love of medicine and history came from his family. His father was a family physician for his entire medical career and his Great-Grand Father Sergeant John W. Barkley who served with Company E, 1st Missouri State Militia Cavalry in the Civil War.

The study of the Civil War became a labor of love that evolved into a love of horses which is not surprising. He and Jan became devoted to the "Rocky Mountain" breed of horses, hence the name of their farm which is Rocking Horse Farm.

In the folklore of the U.S. Cavalry there is a place known as "Fiddler's Green". This is where all "Horse Soldiers" and their horses go. It is a place where the grass is always green, the water is always clear and refreshing, the sun always shines, no one ever wants for anything and one can meet comrades who have been called before. They have said their goodbyes and farewell to this world, are troubled no more and are now at peace. So it is for Doctor John H. Spencer. His legacy will always be in the hearts and memories of his family, his friends, his patients and at his beloved battlefield. Farewell my friend!

Arnold W. Schofield,

Fort Scott