Jim’s interest in magic began at age 14.
R.I.P. Jim Spencer
by Shirley Lorraine
The seat on the aisle is now empty. James (Jim) L. Spencer passed away at the age of 74 from a swiftly-moving inoperable brain tumor on Friday, September 30 with me, his wife of 26 years, Shirley Lorraine Spencer, at his side.
Jim was well known in many circles. His solo law practice focused on estates and corporations. He taught business law courses at Ventura College for nearly 40 years. His interest in magic began at age 14 and continued to the present. His primary magic persona was that of Professor Tinker, a medicine show recreation of old west vintage. Although we often performed on the same bill, rarely did we actually perform together. Our last stage performance as a duo outside of magic was a reading of “Love Letters” at the Camarillo Playhouse.
Together we co-authored Two On the Aisle, writing more than 400 theater reviews to date for the Ventura Breeze and the Ventura County Reporter over a span of more than 20 years. Jim liked to say that he wrote the vowels and I wrote the consonants because there were more of them. His own years of performance as an actor and singer on local stages endeared him to many. Jim and I met while performing with the Firelite Dinner Theater. The first Spencer/Lorraine Entertainment collaboration was a medieval dinner event fundraiser for Ventura County Master Chorale. Since 1988 we have been privileged to perform for and arrange entertainment for many charitable organizations and private parties from Ventura to Las Vegas.
An avid theater-goer, Jim was a major force behind creating and establishing the Ventura REP awards for recognizing local talent which has evolved into an unprecedented cooperation among Ventura County theaters. This achievement was a source of great satisfaction, appealing to his relentless desire to cultivate, encourage and recognize the outstanding quality and amount of theatrical talent within Ventura County. He truly treasured the connections, acquaintances and friendships made through the theater community.
Jim was a long-time member of Hollywood’s Magic Castle (Academy of Magical Arts), Downtown Rotary, the Salvation Army Advisory Board, Toastmasters International, Business Network International Network of Champions, the California Bar Association, advisory board for Ventura Improv Company, to name just a few. In addition, he participated in and supported numerous arts and charitable organizations through the years.
A public memorial service will be held on Sunday, October 30 (the day before International Day of Magic) at 2 p.m. at Ted Mayr Funeral Home, 3150 Loma Vista Rd., Ventura. A reception may be held at a later date.
Jim would be pleased to have contributions made in his honor to a Ventura County theater of choice or to the Salvation Army, Ventura Corps. Both are deserving causes for which he worked tirelessly and with passion.