Richard Spencer, a member of the Lion family for more than 20 years, passed away on March 23 at the age of 59.

An associate professor in the Criminal Justice Department, Spencer was known for his mentorship of his students and devotion to their success in and out of the classroom.

Born in 1962, he was a lifelong Neosho resident. He joined the Missouri Southern faculty 26 years ago. During his tenure, he was honored as both Professor and Adviser of the Year.

“Richard was an integral part of the Criminal Justice program and its successes over the past 26 years,” said Dr. Tim Wilson, chair of the department. “He focused entirely on his students and their academic success and did everything within his power to enrich their academic, professional and personal lives.

“He leaves behind a legacy of student-centered instruction, advising and mentorship that will be greatly missed by all who interacted with him.”

Funeral services were held March 27. His family asks that in lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, c/o Clark Funeral Home, PO Box 66, Neosho, MO 64850.