06-24-2018  1:40 pm      •     
The Skanner Report
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

NEWS BRIEFS

AG Rosenblum Seeks Info from Oregonians

Oregon Attorney General seeks information on children separated from families at border ...

Community Forum: How Does Law Enforcement Interact With Vulnerable Populations?

Forum will focus on public safety and examine mental health and addiction issues ...

King County Council Recognizes Juneteenth

The Metropolitan King County Council recognizes a true 'freedom day' in the United States ...

Unite Oregon Hosts ‘Mourn Pray Love, and Take Action’ June 20

Community is invited to gather at Terry Schrunk Plaza at 6 p.m. on World Refugee Day ...

MRG Foundation Announces Spring 2018 Grantees

Recipients include Oregon DACA Coalition, Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe, Komemma Cultural Protection Association ...

18-year-old driver dies after colliding with log truck

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon State Police say an 18-year-old girl has died after colliding with a log truck on Highway 101 near Beaver.Law enforcement officials say Mikayla Michelle Howard was driving a 2003 Saab when it crossed into the other lane for an unknown reason on Friday morning....

Marion County deputies investigating suspicious death

LYONS, Ore. (AP) — Law enforcement officials are investigating after a man was found dead in a pond near his home in Lyons.The Marion County Sheriff's Office says deputies were called to the scene Saturday afternoon after the body was found. Detectives also responded to the scene because the...

New Mexico residents to testify on atomic bomb fallout

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Residents of a New Mexico Hispanic village near the site of the world's first atomic bomb test say they were long ignored about the lingering health effects and were expected to share their stories with Congress.The Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium plans to...

Small plane hits car after missing runway near Snohomish

SNOHOMISH, Wash. (AP) — A small plane hit a car after overshooting the runway at an airfield near Snohomish.The Seattle Times reports that three people, including a child, were in a single-engine plane when it was approaching the Harvey Air Field on Saturday.Lt. Rick Hawkins of the Snohomish...

OPINION

How Washington’s 'School Achievement Index' Became School Spending Index

New assessment categorizes schools not by quality of education, but level of funding officials believe they should receive ...

Black Mamas Are Dying. We Can Stop It.

Congresswoman Robin Kelly plans to improve access to culturally-competent care with the MOMMA Act ...

Hey, Elected Officials: No More Chicken Dinners...We Need Policy

Jeffrey Boney says many elected officials who visit the Black community only during the election season get a pass for doing nothing ...

Juneteenth: Freedom's Promise Still Denied

Juneteenth is a celebration of the de facto end of slavery, but the proliferation of incarceration keeps liberation unfulfilled ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Authorities investigating fatal Minneapolis police shooting

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota state authorities are investigating after Minneapolis police shot and killed a black man they say was firing a handgun as he walked outside.A demonstration was planned for Sunday afternoon at a police precinct headquarters and a vigil near the north Minneapolis...

Jews, Muslims in Berlin team up on bike rides against hatred

BERLIN (AP) — Some 25 Jews and Muslims rode tandem bicycles through the German capital on Sunday in a protest against growing anti-Semitism and attacks on Muslims in the country.Some were rabbis and imams, others included women in headscarves and Jewish community members donning skullcaps...

Association removes Laura Ingalls Wilder's name from award

CHICAGO (AP) — A division of the American Library Association has voted to remove Laura Ingalls Wilder's name from a major children's book award over concerns with how the early-to-mid 20th century author portrayed blacks and Native Americans.The Association for Library Service to Children's...

ENTERTAINMENT

Brigitte Nielsen, 54, has given birth to her fifth child

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Brigitte Nielsen says she has given birth at age 54.The model, actress and reality star and her 39-year-old husband Mattia Dessi released a statement to People magazine Saturday saying their daughter Frida was born Friday in Los Angeles and weighed 5 pounds, 9 ounces (2.3...

Association removes Laura Ingalls Wilder's name from award

CHICAGO (AP) — A division of the American Library Association has voted to remove Laura Ingalls Wilder's name from a major children's book award over concerns with how the early-to-mid 20th century author portrayed blacks and Native Americans.The Association for Library Service to Children's...

'Jurassic World' sequel stomps its way to 0 million debut

NEW YORK (AP) — The dinosaurs still rule the box office."Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom" surpassed expectations to open with 0 million in ticket sales in U.S. and Canada theaters over the weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday. While that total didn't approach the record-breaking...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Saudi women in driver's seat as longstanding ban is lifted

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi women steered their way through busy city streets on Sunday, driving to...

Trump officials pledge to reunite families amid border chaos

Trump administration officials say the U.S. government knows the location of all children in its custody after...

Trump tweets, hard-right voters hamper GOP immigration push

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican apprehension over President Donald Trump's next tweet and fear of riling...

Kushner rips Abbas, says Mideast peace plan due 'soon'

JERUSALEM (AP) — President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser said in an interview published...

US Defense chief to visit China amid S. China Sea tensions

BEIJING (AP) — U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who has accused China of "intimidation and coercion" in...

Libyan coast guard intercepts 450 migrants bound for Europe

CAIRO (AP) — Libya's coast guard intercepted Sunday some 460 African migrants, including dozens of children...

Thad Spencer pictured on the front cover of The Ring magazine
By Helen Silvis | The Skanner News

 Former heavyweight champion boxer Thaddeus Spencer Jr. died in Vallejo, Calif., Dec. 13, at the age of 70.  Born in Tuscaloosa Ala., March 28, 1943, Spencer was the third in a family of 12. His parents, Thad Sr. and Marie Spencer moved to Portland’s Woodlawn neighborhood when he was an infant.

“He fought through as much as he could for as long as he could,” said his son Lance Spencer. “He died peacefully in his sleep. He had no struggles.”

During the 1960s Spencer was a top contender for the heavyweight championship of the world, joining an elite group of boxers that included Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and Ernie Terrell.

“He was the number one contender for heavyweight champion,” says Paul Brown a childhood friend and fellow boxer. “He was the baddest man on the planet.”

Spencer was among the great boxers who blazed a trail for all Black athletes, by increasing the rewards they received for their sporting prowess.

“These guys were monsters in that era of the 60s,” Brown said. “When Ali and Frazier earned $2.5 million in 1971 for their first meeting, that was unheard of for African Americans. And Thad was one of those fighters. They came right out of the civil rights era to make that kind of money. He paved the way for all the NFL and NBA players today. He paid the price.”

Spencer never fought Ali or Frazier, but he beat Doug Jones who had won his bout with the young Cassius Clay. And he beat Ernie Terrell, Brian London and Amos Lincoln all top flight heavyweights of the day.

“He had the fastest hands in the sport,” says Lance Spencer. “He was just a natural.”

Spencer started his boxing career at the storied Knott Street Gym, which still operates at Dishman Community Center. The training he received there helped him to a Pacific Northwest Golden Gloves Championship at age 16.

But Spencer encountered many challenges in his life. He turned professional at just 17, instead of pursuing an Olympic career because he wanted to support his family. And even as he approached the peak of his profession, he was falling prey to alcohol and drug addiction. Even his tremendous talent couldn’t save his boxing career.

“He endured a lot of pain during his life,” says Brown. “He endured tremendous pain before he became successful just being in the trenches of the fight game.

“He was a good guy. He tried hard hard all his life. He truly was a champion and he has an undisputed crown today.”

In 1975 Spencer was shot five times in a Portland bar. He shot back in self-defense killing his attacker. That same year he would be shot again, and also run down by a car.

But Brown recalls Spencer would get a standing ovation when he entered the Expo Center, even after his glory days.

“I think he touched many people who admired who he was and what he did.”

Later Spencer tackled his addictions. He worked as a promoter for a time. And he grew close to family members.

“He was a family man; he loved his family,” says Lance Spencer. “He was a big teddy bear. He was very funny. And he was a very classy guy. He lived life his way.”

In his later years Spencer lived with his son in Vallejo, Calif. Despite having dementia, he posted notes to himself around the home to help his memory. And he was happy and optimistic by nature, says Lance.

“He had this saying: ‘I may not be as tough as I once was, but I’m as tough once, as I’ll ever be.’” Lance says.  

“I miss him and I’m that selfish that I want to have him here. But he’s in heaven now and has no more pain and no regrets.”

Thad Spencer is survived by his mother, Marie Spencer; his  brothers, Kenny and Kevin; his sisters Loretta Ganter, Cynthia Lovell, Maudine Smith and Gerry Orr; hi children Tamara, Todd, Lance, Mister, Taron, Joseph, Carmen Andria Jones; his step-children Duran Beasley and Lisa Beasley; 16 grandchildren and one great-grandson.

A funeral service will be held 11 a.m. Saturday at Word Assembly Church, 2333 Harrison Street, Oakland, California 94612.

Send remembrances to McNary-Morgan-Greene & Jackson Mortuary, 3630 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, Calif.

Oregon Lottery
Portland Community Policing
Calendar

Photo Gallery

Photos and slide shows of local events

Lents International Farmers Market
The Skanner Report

The Skanner Foundation Scholarships