[Courtesy photo]

Spencer Warren Connolley was born in the evening in our little house in Nikiski, Alaska, on April 15, 1996.

He was then, as he is now, surrounded by friends and family. Spencer was wholeheartedly committed to the maximum amount of living in each of his 23 years. This included his last day and mercifully enough his last minute. On July 14, 2019, on his 664th jump, he had a beautiful swoop into a wild landing and died on impact, in Moab, Utah.

Spencer is survived in spirit by anyone who approaches fear with a head-on attitude. Spencer’s first crush, the girl next door, high school sweetheart and most recently, soul mate, Emily Sherwood, has been a part of his heart for years.

His family who remains here includes his great-grandpa, Warren McConnell, who inspired him to be a loving, genuine person and sometimes you put a panther on your arm; his great-grandmas, Bonnie McConnell and Betty Bransford, whose prayers he welcomed; his grandma, Nancy Connolley, who kept his eyes on the prize; his grandma, Cheryl Bransford, who encouraged him to do fun things; his grandpa, Andy Connolley, who encouraged him to find work that he loved; his parents, Mike and Tara Connolley; brothers, Silas and Hunter; sister, Naomi; his great-uncles, Stephen, Tim and Robert; great-aunts, Marty, Becky, Debbie, Beth, Liz, Cindi, Joanna and Janet; his aunt Tami Connolley in Seattle; his uncles and their families: Josh (Stephanie) Bransford, Taylor, Jack and Alli of Grangeville, Tyler (Sheila Arnzen) Bransford Weston and Kyra of Grangeville and Colter (Cindy) Bransford, Cadence, Sebastian, Ariya, Kylara, Tamyrie and Liyannah of Grangeville. Spencer was really close to a few of his cousins, both first and second; he loved spending time with them: cousins Raybo, Deb, Lori, Stuart, Haley, Trace, Carter, Rose, Beau, Ashley, Andrew, Emily, Amanda, Nathan, Andrew, Annie, Jennie, Ben, Josh, Kindle, Kit, Claire, Levi, Mattie and April.

Spencer’s dog, Tank, who taught him about living off-leash, misses him greatly. He was preceded in death by his great-grandpa Jack “Griz” Bransford, grandpa Gordon Bransford and uncle Pat Connolley.

Spence didn’t make friends; he made brothers and sisters, with whom he had mammoth amounts of fun, adventure and mischief. The last three years, he was accepted into the Sky Family as an accomplished, driven and magnetic person who was stoked about sharing the sky sport world with everyone.

Spence was the type of guy who you knew was in the room, and you knew his enthusiasm was going to make you laugh and make you want to stay a little longer, even though you knew something was going to get broken. His life has impacted many people and he’d surely tell us to build more campfires, jump off things, watch all of the sunsets, sleep outside, don’t leave things left unsaid, buy your clothes at thrift stores, really hear people, boldly follow your passions, feed the birds, swim in all of the waters, stand on the earth with your bare feet, spin fire and fly in the sky.

There will be a celebration of his life on Friday, Aug. 9, at the Sunset Auto Vue (drive-in) at 7:30 p.m. in Grangeville, Idaho. The family will serve dinner and have a short film of Spencer’s life to share with you. Everyone is invited. Spence was concerned about the plight of bees and our veterans. Supporting those causes would be very appropriate if you desire.