John Edward Spence Obituary

John Edward  Spence
John Edward Spence

February 28, 1944 - March 12, 2023
Born in Des Moines, Iowa
Resided in Des Moines, Iowa
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John Edward Spence, 79, passed away Sunday, March 12, 2023, at Arbor Springs Care Center in West Des Moines, IA. Visitation will be held April 2nd at 2pm followed by a service at 3pm at Iles Westover Funeral Home. The service will be livestreamed on the Iles website. Go to at 2:45 on Sunday and scroll to the bottom of John's obituary to join in the service. Des Moines Rugby Club in West Des Moines will be hosting a celebration of life for John at 5pm after the service.

Final resting place will be at McLaren’s Resthaven Mortuary at a later date with close family.

John was born February 28, 1944, in Des Moines, Iowa, to John and Helen (Tilton) Spence. He married Judy Cram Spence in 1984.

John grew up in Warren county and was very athletic. He played football, handball, and rugby. He graduated from Indianola High School and continued his education at Mankato State

John was an entrepreneur. He developed townhomes in the late seventies before opening two successful restaurants, Colorado Feed and Grain, and O’Malley McGees. From there it was off to Chapala Salsa (his family and friends ate gallons…) which was sold throughout the Midwest. This led to one of his biggest ventures which was Profile Foods. His last venture was SMK Sprayers.

He was one of the founders of the Des Moines Rugby Club and a strong supporter of the game of handball through the Hinder Club.

He was a very passionate man and he put his heart and soul into whatever he put his mind to. He did just that with the Des Moines Rugby Club, Drake Rugby Club, and Indianola High School Rugby Club. John was a hard worker and couldn’t stay still, there was always something to get done at the family farm and Jay’s Lake. John traveled the world, was an avid reader, woodworker, golfer, duck hunter, and fisherman. He loved his family and his wife Judy who he sung praises about and laughed with daily.

John is survived by his wife, Judy Spence, son, Jeff Harper (Barb) Spence of West Des Moines, IA; daughter, Cassandra Jo (Javier) Spence of Des Moines, IA; sister, Julie (Bob)
Leman of Denver, CO; three grandchildren, Ben and Rachel Spence, Lojay Lopez-Spence; He was preceded in death by his father, John Edward Spence, mother, Helen Belda Spence, son, Jay Tilton Spence.

Memorials can be made to The Des Moines Rugby Club or the Downtown YMCA. Online condolences will be welcomed at






Memorial Visitation
Iles Westover Chapel
6337 Hickman Road
Des Moines, IA US 50322
Sunday, April 2, 2023
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Memorial Service
Iles Westover Chapel
6337 Hickman Road
Des Moines, IA US 50322
Sunday, April 2, 2023
3:00 PM
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Des Moines Rugby Club
120 39th St,
West Des Moines, Iowa USA 50266
Des Moines Riverfront YMCA
101 Locust Street
Des Moines, IA 50309