Thomas James Spencer
Thomas James Spencer, Jr., known as Brother Jim Spencer (August 8, 1938 — February 28, 2006), was a Southern Baptist minister who pastored Kingsville Baptist Church (founded 1931) in Ball, north of Alexandria-Pineville in Rapides Parish in central Louisiana, for nearly thirty years — from 1976 until his death in 2006 after a lengthy battle with cancer.
Spencer was known for his oratory, enthusiastic optimism, and conservative interpretation of Scripture. He engineered several building programs through the Kingsville church, which has some 1,200 resident members.
Spencer was born in Bogalusa in southeastern Louisiana to the late Thomas J. Spencer, Sr., and Marion Spencer. Marion remarried Furlon G. Fortenberry (1909-1996). She had another son by the second marriage, Daryl Fortenberry. Both Marion and Daryl Fortenberry resided in Chattanooga, Tennessee, at the time of Jim Spencer's death.
Jim Spencer surrendered to the ministry at the age of sixteen in 1954 and began his service as a supply pastor. He was ordained into the ministry in 1962. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Mississippi College in Clinton, Mississippi, and he did his graduate work at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He pastored throughout Mississippi until 1971, when he relocated to Louisiana. He served at the Comite Baptist Church in Baton Rouge for more than five years, when he was called to Kingsville Baptist Church. The large Kingsville church more than doubled in size and attendance during his long tenure. Spencer emphasized preaching, missions, and pastoral care.
Spencer served on the board of trustees of Louisiana College in Pineville for six years, including two stints as chairman. He was a member of the executive board of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, which is headquartered in Alexandria, He was also a board member of the Arcadia Home for the Aging in Arcadia, the seat of Bienville Parish in north Louisiana. He was active in the North American Mission Board. Spencer also held leadership positions over the years in the Southern Baptist Convention.
After a heart attack that required eight graphs to his heart (a record for Cabrini Hospital in Alexandria), Spencer strongly supported the Rapides Foundation with the placement of Automated External Defibrillators throughout churches in Central Louisiana.
Services were held at the Kingsville Baptist Church with the Reverend Wayne Jenkins (Kingsville's interim pastor), Brian South, Wilburn Walker (Kingsville's music minister), Dr. Tom Robinson, Tom Spencer (Jim Spencer's son), and Chaplain (and Jim Spencer's half-brother) Daryl Fortenberry officiating. Burial was at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, located across U.S. Highway 165 from the church.
In addition to his mother, brother, and son Tom and his wife, Dawn, of Pollock, Louisiana, Spencer was survived by his wife of forty-nine years, Faye K. Spencer; three daughters, Deb Spencer Forbes and husband, Kendall Forbes, of Baton Rouge, Sharon Spencer Richardson and husband Bob Richardson of Lafayette, and Beth Spencer Bryant and husband, Josh Bryant, of Ball, and thirteen grandchildren.
Jim Spencer obituary, Alexandria Daily Town Talk, March 3, 2006.