FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. (WCCO) — A Minnesota man who’s mastered the craft of upholstery is ready to put his work on display.
World War II veteran John Spencer has been on a roll making bedroom benches and is showing off his craft at the state fair for the first time– at the age of 93.
“At my age if I don’t keep active, I’d be watching the tube all day,” Spencer said.
Spencer doesn’t like to stay still for too long. He worked with his hands his whole life, making a career in upholstery after serving in the Navy.
“After I retired I didn’t know what to do with myself,” he said with a laugh.
That’s why his son gave him a room to use as a hobby shop. Spencer got back to work by making a bedroom bench for one of his granddaughters.
“She liked it so well so I thought I’d make another one for some of my daughter-in-laws,” he said.
And he kept on going when those were done. Now he’s made about a dozen– taking his time to try new ideas, and get every detail just right.
“My son said, ‘Well, what are you gong to do with it?’ I said, ‘I don’t know,’ and so he said, “Let’s show it some place,'” Spencer said.
So he did. Spencer is entering his bedroom bench into the senior division at the Minnesota State Fair in the Creative Activities Building.
“I hope some furniture manufacture comes along and says, ‘Hey, I like that idea– we’ll take it,'” he said with a laugh.
His son said it’s a special sight to see.
“I’m very proud,” his son Jeff Spencer said. “This is a great moment not only for him but for me. I get to brag.”
Seeing his dad back in his workshop brings back memories of long ago.
“I started out when I was 13, working with him, just tearing furniture apart basically,” Jeff said. “He opened up a shop in his garage, and if I wanted to see my dad I would go down to the garage and spend time with him.”
John’s life-long career came back as a hobby– and he has no plans of stopping.
“I am going to do more, yes, I have another one in the works right now,” he said.