Oldest Member of Theta Kappa Nu Dies at Age 106

When asked what kind of legacy Spencer Yancey will leave behind, anyone will tell you how he touched the lives of so many around him.

Yancey passed away Monday, Jan. 9, at the age of 106.  He was the last surviving brother of Theta Kappa Nu.   As the history of Lambda Chi Alpha will show, the two fraternities (Lambda Chi and Theta Kappa Nu) merged with one another in 1939 to save Theta Kappa Nu from financial devastation and expand the reach of Lambda Chi.

Yancey’s senior yearbook memoir, 1932

A simple farm boy from Hunnewell, Missouri, Yancey was a proud member of Theta Kappa Nu and held several offices during his time at Culver-Stockton College. Following his college years, Yancey worked in a variety of roles, including five years operating as Lieutenant of Army Engineers and sales manager for PPG Industries for 24 years.

Though Yancey retired at the age of 65, his fiery spirit would not keep him immobile for too long.  Between traveling with his wife, Charlotte, and volunteering for various organizations, Yancey worked with the Central Bank and Trust for six years as the marketing officer.

When he was away from work, Yancey and Charlotte were avid members of their church, where their pastor, Mike Snell, first met the larger-than-life brother.

“He very intentionally introduced himself,” said Snell.  “In my bio, it said that I was from Culver-Stockton and then when we spoke, we immediately found out that we were also in that Lambda Chi line, so that just gave us a special bond.”

From that first introduction, Yancey and Snell’s bond grew.  Snell remembers Yancey as the kind of person who never wore a frown, always looking on the bright side of life.

“He tried to push himself to do everything he was capable of,” said Snell.  “Obviously if you are 106 and still doing water aerobics, you aren’t content to sit down and die, and he wasn’t.”

After his wife passed, Yancey threw himself into his work volunteering with other senior citizens and donating both time and money to his church.  Snell recounts this generosity in the form of Yancey paying the way for several Lambda Chi members from his alma mater to go on mission trips organized through Project Berea, a missionary organization formed by Snell in 2005.

Yancey was rarely seen without a smile on his face.

“He felt very blessed to have the money he did and he certainly wasn’t a miser with it,” said Snell.

No matter what he was doing in life, though, Yancey was always available to lend a helping hand, embodying the core values of what it means to be a Lambda Chi.

“You can take the saying ‘Every man a man’ and I think that he really lived those words,” said Snell.  “He led when he needed to lead and followed when he needed to follow.  He didn’t just support with words, he did it with action.”

The memorial service was held for Yancey on Jan. 21 where his friends, family and community remembered a man who was the best example of all a common man can be.