Rodney Spence, 72, of Ford City, PA, died Thursday, January 14, 2021, at ACMH Hospital in Kittanning, PA. His death was due to COVID-19 and related complications from underlying health issues.
He was born on August 18, 1948, in Kittanning, PA. He was the son of J. Gilbert Spence and Helen (Arner) Spence. Rod was a 1966 graduate of Ford City High School. He also graduated from IUP with a B.S. degree in business. After college, Rod worked as a men’s accessories buyer for The Chess King Stores in Massachusetts. He later returned home to work in the family hardware business. Rod was the 3rd generation owner of Arner Hardware, which was a well-known institution in Ford City. The business was started by his grandfather, Henry Arner, then owned by his parents, and finally taken over by Rod and his wife. He loved Arner’s and all the loyal customers that supported the store. But due to the declining business atmosphere, Rod made the difficult decision to close Arner’s and pursue another career path. He then attended CCAC and received his certification as a radiologic technician. He worked for Apex and Mobilex, traveling and servicing nursing home accounts all over Western PA. After retiring, Rod and Shirley opened a thrift/consignment store in Lower Burrell, PA. They loved to shop the flea markets to find treasures to resell. Having many handyman skills, Rod enjoyed spending time working on household remodeling projects.
Rod loved the outdoors, and he was an avid trout fisherman. He loved spending time at his camp on Spring Creek in Hallton, PA. It was his haven for hunting, fishing, kayaking, and simply relaxing with his wife, son, family, and friends. He especially had fun participating in the annual Labor Day Belltown Anything Floats Regatta. More recently, Rod and his wife enjoyed traveling and camping in their RV and exploring the wonders of the country and its national parks.
Rod is survived by his beloved wife of 44 years, Shirley, whom he married on July 31, 1976. He also leaves behind his son, Shane, to whom he was deeply devoted. He is also survived by his sister, Karen (Fred) McCullough of Illinois; sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, Barbara (Don) Phillips of Pittsburgh, PA, and Robert (Gay) Crosby of Virginia; and 20 nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a niece, Amy Martich of Illinois.
Due to COVID-19, there will be no service held until a later date, when it is safe to bring family and friends together. Funeral arrangements in the care of Welch Funeral Home, 1032 Fourth Ave., Ford City. To share memories or condolences, please visit www.welchfh.com. Any memorial contributions can be made in Rod’s name to The Armstrong County Sportsmen’s Conservation League, 489 Ridge Road, Templeton, PA 16259.
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