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In Loving Memory of Robert George Spicer (November 7, 1940 – November 17, 2023)
On November 17th, we bid farewell to Robert George Spicer, a remarkable individual whose unwavering commitment to his family and community left an indelible mark on our hearts. His life served as a profound testament to the strength of perseverance, the importance of family bonds, and the enduring spirit of community. He passed peacefully, enveloped in the love of his cherished family, at the place he called home.
Robert's deep love for his family was evident in every aspect of his life. He is survived by his wife, Louise, who shared a loving partnership with him for 60 extraordinary years, and his sister, Jean Price. His children, Tricia Meade, Dr. Susan Spicer, and Phillip Spicer, along with their respective spouses, Kevin Meade and Shelley Spicer, were not just recipients of his love but witnesses to his boundless dedication. His grandchildren, Alexander Meade, Samuel Meade, Nina Meade, and Brianna Edson, were the apple of his eye, and his grandson-in-law, Michael Edson, was dear to his heart. Nephews, nieces and cousins were all touched by his warmth and kindness. Robert was preceded in death by his brother-in-law, David Price.
Robert was born in Burt, Michigan, on November 7, 1940, to the late George and Ann Spicer. His educational journey led him to graduate from Cadillac High School in 1958, and he later pursued business studies at Ferris State University. In 1963, he embarked on a lifelong adventure by marrying his sweetheart, Louise Kalcher. Together, they moved to Houghton Lake, where they founded Spicer's Boat City in partnership with Robert's father. The journey began with a humble start, five seasonal employees, and a vision that would transform the community.
Through hard work, determination, and an unwavering commitment to excellence, Spicer's Boat City blossomed into a cherished hallmark of the community and a beloved hub for boaters and snowmobilers across the Midwest. Robert's passion for business was evident in his willingness to take calculated risks and strive for growth, even in the face of significant challenges such as fuel shortages and economic recessions.
At the heart of Spicer's Boat City were the values of professionalism, customer satisfaction, aggressive promotion and, above all, integrity. Robert always credited the success of Spicer's to the dedicated staff, many of whom remained loyal to the business for 25-30 years. The company eventually grew to be one of the nation’s largest boat and snowmobile dealerships.
Recognized as Dealer of the Year by trade magazines and manufacturers, Robert served on dealer councils for boat, snowmobile, and engine manufacturers. His commitment to the boating industry was further exemplified by his active participation in the Michigan Boating Industry Association (MBIA), where he served on the Board of Directors and as Vice-Chairman.
In 2002, Robert's dedication to waterway accessibility led to his appointment to the Michigan Waterways Commission. He worked diligently with the MBIA, the Department of Natural Resources, and public officials to increase public boating access, championing the belief that Michigan's lakes and rivers belong to all.
Robert's passion for the boating industry and his tireless efforts to promote safe family boating earned him a place of honor in the Michigan Boating Industries Association Hall of Fame in 2006, where he was celebrated for his extraordinary contributions to the recreational boating industry.
Robert's love extended beyond his business endeavors. He actively contributed to the Houghton Lake area by serving as a board member of the Chamber of Commerce and the United Way. He promoted safe boating and snowmobiling, funded media campaigns, and provided marine patrol crafts for local agencies. His passion for boating as a family lifestyle led to his appointment by Governor Engler to the International Year of the Family in 1994.
In 2002, Robert retired and sold his remaining interest of Spicer’s Boat City to his son, Phillip. He then focused his passion on spending time with family, friends, and the great outdoors. He was an avid outdoorsman who found solace in hunting whitetail deer in Petoskey, in the company of his friends and his son. Yet, his true joy came from spending precious moments with his beloved grandkids and his devoted wife, Louise, who was the love of his life.
In the twilight of his remarkable journey, Robert George Spicer leaves behind a legacy of dedication, compassion, and an unrelenting commitment to family, community, and the boating industry he loved so dearly. His memory will forever inspire us to strive for excellence, to cherish our loved ones, and to make a positive impact on the world around us.
A viewing and church service in Robert’s honor will be held on December 2, 2023 at the Houghton Lake Wesleyan Church at 5599 West Houghton Lake Drive, Houghton Lake, Michigan 48629. The viewing will take place at 11 AM, and the service at 1 PM. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that donations be made to the Houghton Lake Wesleyan Church at the address above. Robert’s spirit will live on in the hearts and memories of those he touched throughout his extraordinary life.
Houghton Lake Wesleyan Church
5599 W. Houghton Lake Drive, Houghton Lake MI 48629