Tony started his fire department adventures at age 16 with Charles, his childhood friend. When you are 16 years old in 1983 and you live in Hyde County, there isn’t much to do, so Tony purchased a scanner and installed it in his blue Grand Prix, and after work or school, Tony and Charles would ride around and listen for the excitement on the scanner. They would respond when there was a call, and then they would leave, until one night the chief told them, “If you boys keep showing up, you need to have your butts on the truck.” And so, the story continues.
Tony dedicated his life to serving others. He had many roles throughout his many years in public safety. He held the position of senior emergency management specialist at Headquarters USMC, teaching emergency management courses to our Marine Corps, here at home and overseas in Japan and Korea. He served in Carteret County as deputy director of emergency services and director of emergency communications, building and managing the countywide consolidated 911 center during his tenure. He served as the emergency manager and fire marshal of Hyde County. Tony was a member of many departments, with his last being Engelhard Volunteer Fire Department where he was chief. He was a true leader who was respected by all his peers, especially his department members who he pushed and mentored to be the volunteers they are today.
Romulus Sanderson Spencer III, “Tony,” was born on May 5, 1967, to R. S. Spencer Jr. and Judy B. Spencer. Tony graduated from Mattamuskeet High School in 1985 and from NC State University with a degree in history. He was a certified electrician and plumber. He was the chairman of the Engelhard Sanitary District, and he was the CEO of R.S. Spencer, Inc., a family business that began in 1900.
Tony is survived by his wife, Jo Ann Spencer; son, Chris Spencer, and wife Rebecca Moore; daughter, Heather Lansdell, and husband David; his parents, R. S. Spencer Jr. and Judy Broughton Spencer; his sister, Jennifer Thomas, and husband William; stepson, Richard Smith, and wife Lauren; stepdaughter, Kimberly Reese, and husband Cristopher; grandchildren, Caitlyn, Christina, Lyla, Landon, and Alexis; niece, Ashleigh; aunts, Mary Tilghman and Pam Andrews; and cousins, Dale Smith and Cassie Smith.
Tony left us all way too soon after participating in hose training on a Thursday night. He will be remembered for his hard work and dedication to his fire department, to his community, and to his family whose lives he touched over the years.