William Thomas Spear Jr., beloved son, husband and father, died peacefully at home on October 27, 2022 after a courageous five-year battle with lung and brain cancer. He was surrounded by his family.
Will’s story began in Kinston, North Carolina on October 9, 1961, as the only child of William Thomas Spear, Sr (Tom), and the late Mary Frances Gaylor Spear. Known as “Willie” growing up, he graduated from Kinston High School (1979) and Barton College in Wilson, North Carolina (formerly Atlantic Christian College (1983). Will met his wife, Susan, at Atlantic Christian College and they were married in 1985. They moved to Williamsburg, Virginia in 1986. Will returned to school at the College of William & Mary to work on his master’s studies and, after deciding to pursue his love of teaching, received his teaching certificate in 1992. He then began his 29-year career as a Social Studies teacher, first as a substitute teacher at New Kent High School, and an Assistant Soccer Coach for the high school boys’ team.
Will’s teaching career took him back to his roots in Eastern North Carolina from 1993 through 2000. He began teaching social studies at Selma Middle School in Selma, NC and North Johnston High School in Kenly, North Carolina. While in North Carolina, he participated in several Revolutionary War re-enactment groups. His claim to fame was traveling to South Carolina to perform as a Militiaman in the filming of the movie “The Patriot” where he was part of several battle scenes, along with several hundred other re-enactors. After returning to Virginia in 2000, he joined the Bruton High School family where he spent 21 years as a much-loved history, psychology and social studies teacher, mentor, soccer coach and friend. He was known for his affinity for Classic Rock music and Coke. He retired this past August. He spent his free time visiting Emerald Isle Beach in North Carolina and visiting historical sites up and down the East Coast.
Will’s love of soccer went hand-in-hand with teaching. He and his friends formed their own recreation league team in high school that allowed him to play throughout college and began his coaching career. His coaching positions include The Williamsburg Soccer Club 1987-92, Selma Middle School Boys team 1993-98, South Johnston High School Soccer team 1995-97, North Johnston High School Boys and Girls teams 1998-2000, and Bruton High School Boys team 2001-17, Girls team 2018-2020. In 1998, he was recruited by Sports Challenge International to serve as chaperone and coach for the North Carolina boys’ team for the Belgium Soccer Tour.
Will was predeceased by his mother, Mary Frances Gaylor Spear. He is survived by his father, Tom Spear; his wife of 37 years, Susan; his daughters, who meant the world to him, Megan who resides in Brooklyn, NY and Olivia who resides in Richmond, VA.; his mother and father in-law; 4 sister in-laws; 3 brother in-laws; 1 niece; 2 nephews; as well as aunts, uncles and many cousins.
Family will receive friends at Nelsen Funeral Home, 3785 Strawberry Plains Road on Thursday, November 10 from 6-8PM. A Celebration of Life will be held on Friday, November 11 at 11AM at Williamsburg Community Chapel, 3899 John Tyler Highway. The family would like to extend our deepest gratitude to Dr. John Miller and staff at Riverside Cancer Institute Williamsburg, and to our Hospice Nurse, Connie, and team at Heartland/ProMedica Hospice.
In lieu of flowers any remembrance memorial donations may be made to the Bruton High School Soccer program, 185 East Rochambeau Drive, Williamsburg, VA 23188, or Heartland/ProMedica Hospice, 41 Old Oyster Point Road, Newport News, VA 23602. Online condolences may be shared at www.nelsenwilliamsburg.com.