L. Rex Spires, 75, a man of modest means who felt wealthy because he was surrounded by the love of his family and many friends, died at 5:00 p.m. Wednesday, June 13, 2012.
Proud of his long association with the Decatur Herald & Review, including more than 25 years as a sports writer, he died following a valiant fight against lymphoma and congestive heart failure. Rex was born November 6, 1936, near Vandalia in Fayette County, but lived in Decatur since age 10.
He was the youngest of the six children of Joseph Matthew and Ethel F. (Blankenship) Spires. He was raised along with his three special nephews, Malcolm, Charlie and Bryden Carnahan, who were like brothers to him. Rex is a graduate of Decatur High School and Millikin University and was especially fond of sharing his experiences while playing baseball and basketball for DHS, the latter for legendary coach, Gay Kintner, winner of 3 state championships.
He also played baseball for Millikin and his love for the university and their athletic programs translated into a job as Director of Public Information at MU from 1969-1973 and then a special fondness for covering Millikin athletics for the Herald & Review in his role as sports reporter.
He served as a member and chairman of the Millikin Athletic Hall of Fame for more than 30 years and was honored to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001 for his dedication to writing about Millikin athletics. Rex enjoyed his job at the Herald & Review covering all area sports teams and was never happier than when he was able to cover a story about golf, which was his passion. He wrote extensively about golf in Decatur for the newspaper and also for the Limited Edition magazine. He made many friends at the Herald & Review, at all of the local high schools, at Millikin, and every golf course in the area as he worked and played at what he loved.
Rex was preceded in death by his parents, his brothers Mont and Milton Spires, his sisters Ruby Hicks and Elizabeth Carnahan, and his beloved daughter Laura Dawn Spires. He is survived by the love of his life, his wife of 55 years, Jane Lord Spires of Decatur, his daughter Becky and her husband Bob Peer and his grandchildren Amy and Andrew Peer, all of Louisville, KY, his sister Joan McClure of Decatur and many wonderful cousins, nieces and nephews.
The family would like to pay tribute to Dr. Wade, Leann Rhinehart and the staff at the Cancer Care Center, as well as the DMH nursing staff in the Cardiac Care and Oncology units for the outstanding and loving care showed to Rex and his family during his illness.
Obituary credit: Herald & Review