June Edwina Renner Spence


June Edwina Renner Spence passed away peacefully, at her home in Sevierville, on Monday, March 27, 2023.

Born at home on June 7, 1936, in Cleveland, she spent her first seven years on a small farm near her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. In 1944, her family moved to Pinellas Park, Florida, where they began a large dairy operation, Renner Dairy. Growing up with five siblings, there was never a dull moment on the farm with frequent baseball games and singing hymns around the piano.

June was a member of the first graduating class of St Petersburg's Boca Ciega High School (1954). With her parents’ encouragement, she returned to Tennessee and attended Maryville College. June finished her undergraduate degrees in Bible, English and Spanish at the University of Florida (1958). Fluent in Spanish, she first taught school in Guatemala and Panama for the United Fruit Company. June taught in the secondary school systems of Dade County, Florida; Sevier County; at Cleveland State Community College; Lee University; and ESL at Maryville College. Beloved by her students, June considered each a precious child of God and treated them as such.

She was active in community work, including being a Girl Scout leader and a founding member of Save the Middle Prong, a grassroots effort that kept our river clean. In 1972, June once again returned to East Tennessee with her two young children and husband to his family's roots in the Smoky Mountains of Sevier County. Forever in awe of God's creation, she was thrilled to raise her daughters on a small farm along a free-flowing river with many unforgettable experiences camping, horseback riding and going on wagon trains.

June had an adventurous spirit — from climbing active volcanoes in Guatemala to horse camping on a secluded mountain with only a flashlight as a defense. However, she would say her greatest adventure was embracing Christ as her Savior and growing her faith through Bible study and prayer. Initially, a Wesleyan Methodist, then a United Methodist, June's Christian discipleship permeated all her endeavors. Her vibrant and engaging personality reflected the love and light of the indwelling Holy Spirit, enabling her to spread the good news.

June never met a stranger; the beauty of her soul outshined even her striking good looks. She faced life's trials with an abundance of faith in God's providence. A model of mercy and grace no matter the circumstances, June always counted her blessings, oft stating "my cup runneth over" (23rd Psalm).

June was a devoted daughter, sister, wife, mother and grandmother. Her role as mother was of utmost importance. She encouraged her daughters to embrace all of life's opportunities. June was honored to care for her mother during her final years and felt blessed by that deepened relationship. In 1995 and 1999, June was overjoyed at the birth of her two grandsons. She relished spending time with them playing games and telling them family stories.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Paul Luther and Edna Mae Massengill Renner; the father of her children, Homer Rule Spence; and son-in-law, Hoyle Rymer.

She is survived by her aunt, Amy Dean Pinkard; sisters, Juanita Munroe and Velma Trotter; brothers, Howard, Kenneth and Arville Renner; daughters, Sharon Rymer and Diana Spence; grandsons, John Hoyle Rymer and Robert Atchley Rymer; and a multitude of nieces, nephews, cousins and dear friends, all whom she loved deeply.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 25, 2023, at First United Methodist Church in Sevierville.

Evening graveside will be held on Friday, June 23, 2023, at Massengill family cemetery in Cleveland.



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