Ivan Macdonald Spear
  • 92 years old
  • Date of birth: Jul 31, 1922
  • Date of passing: Oct 18, 2014
Let the memory of Ivan be with us forever

Ivan M. Spear, M.D., 92

Doctor Ivan MacDonald Spear died peacefully in his home on October 18th at the age of 92. 

Dr. Spear practiced orthopedic surgery intensively in Worcester for nearly half a century. In the course of his career he cared for thousands of patients regardless of their means. Dr. Spear did his residency at the Mayo Clinic, his medical studies at McGill, his college work at Bowdoin and his secondary studies at Worcester Academy. Dr. Spear's kindness, insightfulness and optimism touched many. 

Dr. Spear was pre-deceased by his wife of 53 years, Hope (Hartwell) Spear. Dr. Spear also leaves behind his second wife, Virginia (Herideen) Spear with whom he shared the past 12 years of his life. He leaves his children, Wendy S. Mayrose and her husband Bill, of Spartanburg, South Carolina, Brian Hartwell Spear and his wife Monique, of Paris, France, and Penelope S. Kaczyk and her husband Eugene, of Worcester, MA; his grandchildren, Sara Mayrose Bergman and her husband Bob, John Mayrose, Emerson Stevens, and Leiden and Rafaelle Spear; his great grandchildren, Catherine and Hope Bergman; and his sister, Joanne McBrien. 

Before choosing medicine, Dr. Spear concentrated his studies on ornithology. He remained a passionate bird watcher all of his life. As a teenager he seized an opportunity to sail with Macmillan on one of his arctic explorations. Later, he gave lectures on his experience to help pay for his studies. 

Dr. Spear served in the US Army Medical Corps during WWII. He met Hope Hartwell while at Worcester Academy and they were married in 1945. In 1952, he settled in Worcester with his wife. He participated in numerous medical and social organizations local and national. He enjoyed plays on words and pranks, reading Guy Maupassant and reciting Robert Service; he freely expressed his opinions on matters scientific, historic, philosophical and political. He played the piano and the bagpipes sporting MacDonald plaids. 

Dr. Spear cherished his native Maine and contributed generously to the renaissance of the Spear farm in Warren, in the family since before the American Revolution. 

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Ivan's memory to the Worcester Horticultural Society (Tower Hill Botanic Garden), the Worcester Art Museum, or Worcester Academy.

Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by Penelope Spear Kaczyk on 14th February 2015

One frosty, winter morning, I got into my car for the short ride to the Worcester Art Museum. As I passed through the intersection of Park Ave and Salisbury Street, I glanced to my outside, rear-view mirror and at first sight thought it was covered with snow. When I realized it was a white envelope tucked into the frame of the mirror, I quickly rolled down the window to rescue it before it could blow away. Upon arriving at the museum, I opened the envelope and found an annual fund check from my neighbor Ivan Spear. The next day I thanked Ivan for his generous gift. His response: "You saved me the price of a stamp".
Shortly after moving to 10 Massachusetts Avenue, I went into the garage, which I had just cleaned out, only to find several yellow trash bags ripped open and their contents strewn across the floor. The scattered trash was not my only surprise, for in the far corner was the culprit: a large skunk. As the black and white creature slipped out the side door, I was amazed by its size; its tail was about a foot long. The next day my neighbor Ivan Spear asked me if I had smelled a skunk. I told him that I not only smelled it, I had a close encounter with it. His eyes lit up as he told me his plan to capture the skunk with a trap he had been using to catch squirrels. "But what about the smell?" I asked. Ivan's response "You don't understand; when the skunk goes into the trap it can't raise its tail and therefore can't spray anyone." When I told him that I was still somewhat skeptical, he informed me that the previous owner of my house was plagued with a skunk nesting under the back porch and now was our opportunity to eliminate the problem. Ivan soon produced the trap complete with a large dollop of peanut butter and placed on the patio outside my garage. Just about sunset I happened to be in the garage and heard something at the trap. Looking out the window, I could see that it was the same large skunk that had been in the garage the previous day. In fact, the skunk was so large that Ivan's trap could not accommodate its long tail. Fortunately, I was safe inside the garage and had no intention of disturbing the content diner. After licking his plate clean, the skunk backed out of the trap and left the area. The next morning I reported the event to Ivan, who examined the trap only to discover he forgot to set it. "But don't worry;" said Ivan, "he'll be back!" So that afternoon Ivan reset the trap with another helping of peanut butter. An hour later I checked and found inside the trap not a skunk, but a squirrel. This was no surprise to Ivan who had made it a practice of capturing squirrels in an effort to control the population in the neighborhood. Undaunted by his first two attempts to capture the large skunk, Ivan kept setting the trap next to my patio, hardly a welcome addition to that summers garden parties. Finally, one day I discovered inside the trap a small, dead skunk. Although the size of a squirrel, it seemed to satisfy Ivan and put an end to his pursuit of its my larger relative.

Jim Welu
January 2015"

This tribute was added by Penelope Spear Kaczyk on 29th October 2014

"Some memories come to me:
1) Ivan in the operating room and having just finished a plaster of paris cast on a patient, put his plaster covered hand on the scrub nurse's hips.  This was well received and she walked around all day with the same scrubs with Ivan's hand imprints.
2) I have just returned from sailing my 36 foot boat to Bermuda.  I told Ivan the seas were pretty rough out there.  All Ivan said, with his short wit was, "What do you expect with such a small boat"!
3) Another Ivan quip: One of the orthopedic surgeons had just bought a new suit on sale with the House of Doherty closing.  The surgeon was very proud of the suit.  All Ivan said was, "Too bad they didn't have it in your size"! (He never came wearing that suit again)
John Groves"

This tribute was added by Karen Weinhaus on 22nd October 2014

"I first knew Ivan through the beauty he created at Rutland.  I remember coming to Worcester with Rick (I think we were a couple, but not yet engaged) and Hope and Ivan welcomed us and sent us off with warm wishes and ice skates.  We went off with Brian to enjoy the beauty of Rutland, skate on the frozen lake, and fall asleep in front of the fireplace.

In later years, we came back to Rutland with two very young children.  I always remember the warm way Ivan and Hope welcomed us all and how much they enjoyed being able to share Rutland with us.

Karen Weinhaus"

This tribute was added by Richard Weinhaus on 22nd October 2014

"I think back on Ivan with great fondness.  When I would stay with Brian in Worcester during and after college, Ivan and Hope always welcomed me into their home with great warmth.

I remember Ivan for his resourcefulness, humor, and desire to fix things, no doubt in part a result of his Maine heritage.  I have a vivid memory of his woodworking tools in his basement and the beautiful antique chair that he was in the process of rebuilding and refinishing, some forty years ago.

I also remember one time when I visited Rutland with Brian. There had been a heavy rainstorm that had blown over one of the large trees, so that it was lying on the ground with its roots totally exposed.

Ivan said, “Let’s fix it.”  He started the old tractor and got some rope which we tied around the highest limb we could get to, and with a lot of muscle power and after several failed attempts, somehow we were able to lift the tree back to its upright position.  Ivan reinforced the tree’s base and to the best of my knowledge, the tree is still standing today.

Rick Weinhaus"

This tribute was added by Penelope Spear Kaczyk on 22nd October 2014

"Thank you for serving our country. May your family find comfort in their faith and may you Rest in Peace.
Dr. Timothy Hoffman,
Spencer, Massachusetts"

This tribute was added by Penelope Spear Kaczyk on 22nd October 2014

"Dr. Spear was a loyal and dedicated alumnus of Worcester Academy. He served for years as a member of the school's Board of Trustees, ultimately chairing the Board. He brought to this vital leadership position a mixture of wisdom, energy, resourcefulness, and practical common sense. Having served with him throughout that time, I know that he was a vital and instrumental force in strengthening WA, positioning it well for the years of growth which accompanied and followed his term as Board President. In many ways, the quality of education WA provides to its students today is a fitting tribute to the time, energy, talent, creativity, generosity, perceptiveness and effort this fine gentleman donated to our school through some of its most pivotal and formative years.

Brian O'Connell
Worcester Academy Board of Trustees"

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This memorial is administered by:

Penelope Spear Kaczyk


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