Taft Remembers Clayton “Chip” Spencer ’56

A memorial service will be held on December 17 at 11 a.m. at St Michael’s Parish in Litchfield


It is with profound sadness that we pass along the news that Clayton “Chip” Spencer ’56 passed away on December 9, 2016, after a long battle with cancer. Chip was involved with Taft for every decade up to his retirement in 1997 and changed and bettered Taft profoundly. His roles at Taft included director of development, director of planned giving, history teacher, coach, and dorm parent.


Headmaster Willy MacMullen ’78 said, “It is hard—no, it's impossible—to capture what Chip was to Taft in his years of service here. His love for the school was profound, his service inspiring, and his loyalty unwavering. As director of development and director of planned giving, Chip was instrumental in two capital campaigns. He traveled thousands of miles and spoke to hundreds of alumni, all in service of Taft. So much of Taft’s strength and growth is linked to this remarkable man, who devoted much of his life to Taft. He was a great colleague, a wonderful friend, and an inspiring leader—and, there was no one more fun to work with. There are hundreds of alumni, from Florida to California, and throughout the years, who supported the school because of the efforts of this great man.”


“Chip Spencer was a Taftie through and through,” said Former Headmaster Lance Odden. “A friend to all, his boundless enthusiasm for his school inspired remarkable generosity. Beloved by his colleagues in the Development Office and throughout the alumni body, Chip had a profound impact on those who knew him and on Taft.”


He leaves his wife, Susan, and children Oliver ’85, Jonathan ’88, Jane ’03, and Jennie.


“He loved and cherished his work at Taft having developed long and lasting friendships with the faculty, staff, and countless numbers of donors and contributors,” his family said. “He never considered fundraising to be a job as much as a call to service for the school he loved, attended, and his children attended.”


A memorial service will be held on December 17 at 11 a.m. at St Michael’s Parish in Litchfield (25 South Street, Litchfield, CT 06759). A separate gravesite service will be held in the spring in Old Saybrook, Connecticut.


Read his entire obituary online.


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