|Birth: ||Jun. 18, 1980|
Santa Cruz County
|Death: ||Jan. 26, 2005, Iraq|
Eldest son of James and Rebecca Spence of Scotts Valley. Husband of Elisabeth Jeanne Bertsch Spence and father of Providence Elisabeth. Also survived by two brothers, Tommy and Roger Spence. Lance Cpl. Spence was assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, 1st Marine Division and stationed in Hawaii. He had enlisted just after September 11th, 2001. The day after Spence completed boot camp, he went to get the same Marine bulldog mascot tattoo his father had. Soon after he left for Iraq, Elisabeth gave birth to the couple's daughter, Providence. Spence never saw her in person, but was able to connect via videoconference at Christmas. With just nine days left to his tour of duty in the Middle East, Spence was killed along with twenty-nine other Marines and one Navy Doc when the CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter they were riding in went down in western Iraq while transporting the troops for security operations. It was the single deadliest event for the U.S. military in Iraq since the U.S. invasion in March 2003.
Lance Cpl. Joseph Spence first asked permission to marry his childhood sweetheart, Elisabeth Bertsch, when he was 16 and she was 14. David and Gayle Bertsch, the girl's parents, said no way — (though privately they came to admire the kid's determination). But Spence, the oldest of three brothers, never gave up. He kept asking. "I must have told him no half a dozen times," said David Bertsch. Following boot camp, Spence, of Scotts Valley, Calif., showed up wearing his Marine uniform, and the Bertsches knew he was right for their daughter. Joe and Elisabeth were married on Dec. 28, 2002. The Kane'ohe-based couple had one child — Providence, now 4 months old. But by the time she was born, Spence had left for Fallujah. After Sept. 11, 2001, Spence joined the Marines because his father, Jim Spence, had been a leatherneck. The 24-year-old Marine never wavered in his resolve. "He gave up everything for this," said Bertsch. "We are just crushed that he didn't make it, but he believed in it." "He enjoyed his time over there. He wasn't one of those `What am I doing here' cases," his brother Roger said. "He was where he wanted to be." Joseph is the eldest of Jim and Becky Spence's three sons - Joseph, Tommy and Roger. He grew up in Scotts Valley, CA.
Oakwood Memorial Park
Santa Cruz County
Maintained by: Becky Spence
Originally Created by: Jennifer Festa
Record added: Jan 21, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 13080809