Michael Joe Spence, 54, formerly of Cookeville, passed away Thursday, April 22. A celebration of life was held at Gowen-Smith Chapel in Shelbyville, on Tuesday, April 27. Burial followed at Willow Mount Cemetery in Shelbyville.
Michael was a devoted father, beloved son, sibling, and friend. He loved people and people loved him. He was a life-long educator who began his teaching career in Memphis City Schools. He later traveled abroad and became the Principal of Busan Foreign School in Busan, South Korea. He was a Visiting Scholar for five years at Postech University in Pohang, South Korea. He was the Immersion Program Director of Uchon School in Seoul, South Korea. He later spent some time in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia as the Academic Coordinator for American Higher Education Inc. Once he was back stateside, he became the Associate Director for Curriculum for Ball State University and the Director of the Intensive English Institute via FLS International at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville. He was a graduate of Gibson County High School in Dyer. After he graduated from high school, he played football for Lambuth University in Jackson, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Communications. He obtained a Master of Arts in Teaching Curriculum and Instructional Leadership at the University of Memphis. His presence, intelligent conversations, and gracious spirit will be greatly missed by all who knew him. In such a sad, difficult time as this, it is comforting to know that he professed Christ as his Savior and that he is in Heaven with the Lord.
Michael is survived by his son, Noah Jackson Spence of Cookeville; daughter, Alyssa Cha Huerta (Luis Rey Huerta Tellez) of Cookeville; mother, Linda Oatsvall of Huntingdon; father, Bobby Joe (Ann) Spence of Crump; brother, Tommy Joe Spence of Huntingdon; sister, Lisa Jo Spence (Charles) Beard of Fairview; nephew, Joseph Beard of Los Angeles, CA; his niece, Laura Gill of Heiskell; and nephew, Waker Spence of Asheville, NC