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KENNETH WARTINBEE SPENCE
May 6, 1907–January 12, 1967
BY ABRAM AMSEL
IN 1964 WHEN KENNETH SPENCE moved from the University of Iowa to the University of Texas he must have thought he was embarking on a long, new phase of his career. His parents were both long-lived and he was then only in his middle fifties. Three years later, on January 12, 1967, at the age of 59 he died of cancer, ending a distinguished career as a theorist, experimenter, and teacher, and toward the end of his life, as an editor in collaboration with his wife, Janet Taylor Spence.1
Spence was born on May 6, 1907, in Chicago, where his father was an electrical engineer. The family moved to Montreal when he was a young child and Kenneth spent his youth and adolescence there. At West Hill High School in an area of Montreal called Notre Dame de Grace he was active in basketball, track, and tennis. Later at McGill University he injured his back during track competition and, as part of his therapy and convalescence, he went to live with his grandmother in LaCross, Wisconsin. He attended LaCross Teachers College and majored in physical education. There he met and married Isabel Temte. The couple had two