Spencer with shoes donated by Bonner's
By Michael Butler
Something is absent in Tallassee - or someone. Spencer Sheppard has died. He was 58.
A day wouldn't pass for those that drove along Gilmer Avenue without seeing Spencer. He walked up and down the popular stretch and never met a stranger.
Members of the community often helped Spencer by sparing a dollar here or there. Now, the family needs the community to assist one more time with his final expenses.
Some have already started chipping in including a couple of Gilmer Avenue business owners. Christy Bonner of Bonner's Medical Supply has set up a GoFundMe account. Leon Whatley, who owns Tallassee Detail and Carpet Cleaning, got to know Spencer well over the past decade.
"I already miss him," said Whatley. "Seven or eight times a day, I'd see him. I can't tell you he was poor, but he was always in need. Now that he's gone, I thought about what else could I have done.
"He told me about the people that took from him and that gave to him. People used to say, 'Where's that man with that backpack? I want to make sure he can eat.' I was really moved with that."
Whatley said that Spencer was strong in his faith.
"We gave him a new testament bible. It had gotten wet. He came by everyday until I gave him another one. My wife found one and we gave it to him. I asked, 'You read this?' He said, 'I have to.'"
Charles Blalock was a friend too.
"I was speaking with a lady from Atlanta who said, 'Why is it that those of us who have less appear to be happier than those that have plenty?' That's a good example of Spencer," Blaock said. "He always appeared to be happy. I never saw this young man mad. The doors that he knocked on were always welcoming."