Melvin Louis Spence

melvin spence

January 20, 1927 ~ November 22, 2021

Born in: Arcadia, Oklahoma
Resided in: Pueblo, Colorado

Melvin Louis Spence, 94, passed away Nov. 22, 2021. He was born on Jan. 20, 1927, in Arcadia, Okla., to Ervin and Ozella Spence. He was preceded in death by Mary, his wife of 56 years, and grandson Robbie Hill. He is survived by his son, Mike (Kathleen), and daughters, AnnaLee Hill (James) and Marcia Spence, as well as grandchildren, Kellie Hill (Stephen), Michael Hill (Rebecca), Darby Spence, Reilly Spence, and Daniel Spence; and great-grandson, James Hill. Mel was a longtime teacher, coach and school administrator. He began his teaching and coaching career in Center, Colo., in 1950 and moved to Brush, Colo., in 1952 where he launched the school’s wrestling program and won a state championship in 1955. He moved to Pueblo in 1956 to coach wrestling and football at Centennial High School. In 1958 he moved to East High School, where he was the school’s first football and wrestling coach and later assistant principal and principal. The gymnasium at East bears his name. He concluded his career by serving as principal at Canon City High School from 1983 to 1988. A veteran of the U.S. Navy during World War II, Mel was a standout athlete at the University of Northern Colorado where he advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA wrestling tournament in 1949 before losing to eventual national champion and later 1952 Olympic gold medalist Bill Smith. Mel also was a pitcher on the 1949 UNC baseball team that came within one game of advancing to the College Baseball World Series. Mel won league or conference championships in every sport he coached (football, wrestling, track and tennis). He was inducted into the Colorado High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1976, the Greater Pueblo Sports Association Hall of Fame in 1980, the UNC Sports Hall of Fame in 2003, the East High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2006 and the Golden Eagle Hall of Fame in 2010. Memorial service, 10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 3, 2021, at Wesley United Methodist Church, 85 Stanford. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Online condolences,


Memorial Service: December 3, 2021 10:00 am

Wesley United Methodist Church
85 Stanford Avenue
Pueblo, CO 81005


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Memories Timeline


  1. My condolences to the family. I remember working with him at many South Central League meetings. I always felt he was fair in making decisions and that he commanded a great deal of respect. I’m certain that he will be missed by the many lives he touched in a positive way. RIP
    Rich Riesner

  2. Our condolences, love and prayers for Mel’s family. He was an extraordinary man that lived an extraordinary life. A treasure for all the years he dedicated his time and talent to young people in Colorado. A great man, dad and husband. RIP Mel.
    Dan and Margaret Korber

  3. Condolences, love and prayers to Mel’s family. Mel led an extraordinary life and devoted so many years to teaching and coaching young people.
    He was one of a kind, a good man and good leader. RIP Mel

    Dan and Margaret Korber

  4. My prayers are with the Family. Mel left a lasting legacy at East High School. He will long be remembered.

  5. Wonderful teacher and coach at East High School during my time there. May you RIP Mr. Spence.
    Norman Wong
    Class of 1966

  6. Coach Spence touched my life in so many ways; my sympathy to the family. As a past athelite and student at East High School where I first met Coach Spence; he had a profound influence on my education and commitment in life. I also enjoyed many personal conversations at our many East High School functions and gatherings throughout the years in his later life. We also spoke numerous times by phone. He was a very special person in my life and I will always remember him fondly.

    Respectfully, James L Selak

  7. Mel was a great friend to my family. I remember him best helping my father and grandfather construct our mountain home in Rye, Colo.
    Most people will recall Mel’s athletic and coaching career when they think of him. I will remember him as a man of immense common sense and practical skills, who loved to put in a hard sweaty day’s work. He was also a fair man–judicious and level-headed in his evaluation of people and situations.
    R.I.P. Mel. You were a model husband to Mary and an exemplary father to Mike, Ann, and Marcy.

  8. A good man, father, coach and teacher gone but not forgotten by those who knew him. My condolences to his friends and family, including my old friend and colleague Mike.

  9. The thousands of students that passed through the halls of East High remember Mr. Spence with the greatest respect and admiration. We have only kind words for this man who leaves us all with a permanent impression and will always live in our hearts and minds.

  10. My thoughts and prayers for the family. Mel was my first principal and I enjoyed working under his direction.

  11. My condolences to the family. It was such a privilege to have worked with him and have his support. A very kind, understanding person.

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