Services for Bennie M. Spaulding Sr. will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at Crawford-Bowers Funeral Home in Killeen with Claude B. Carson officiating. Burial will follow at Killeen City Cemetery.
Mr. Spaulding died June 7, 2014, at his home after a lengthy illness. He was born March 28, 1939, in Hico to Noel and Stella Spaulding.
He lived in Killeen most of his life and attended Killeen High School. He married his high school sweetheart, Beth Hopson, on March 24, 1958, in Llano.
Shortly after graduation, Mr. Spaulding went to work as a Killeen firefighter. He was in the department for 14 years. He started as a fireman, then lieutenant, captain and finally training officer. He was chosen as Outstanding Fireman of the Quarter and later Outstanding Fireman of the Year when employed with the Killeen Fire Department.
He received a certificate of appreciation from the general at Fort Hood for helping save a 4-year-old from drowning in Nolan Creek. He was instrumental in helping form the Moffat Fire Department under Chief Stone.
Mr. Spaulding was hired as the fire chief in Kingsville in October 1973. He was inducted as a lifetime member of Bell County Fire Chiefs Association in 1973. He helped organize the South Texas Fire Chiefs Association while there, and organized Kleberg County Youth Rescue Squad.
He was a member of the Coastal Bend Council of Governments. He was instrumental in starting the first fire academy, organized the ambulance service, and then staffed the fire department with emergency medical technicians. Mr. Spaulding held the Kingsville chief’s job until January 1979 when he went to work at Texas A&M Fireman’s Training School in Arlington. He was in charge of the Northern Division, specifying in mathematics and fire apparatus. He was an adviser for Texas Forest Service.
After several months, Mr. Spaulding moved back to Killeen and worked for Centel Telephone Company as safety and security officer for 14 years.
He was chairman of the American Red Cross of Bell County for five years. He was a member of Bell County Fire Chief’s Association and later elected president two different years.
Mr. Spaulding was an instructor at Central Texas College on Standard and Advanced First Aid from 1970-1973. He was a guest instructor at A&M University Texas Firemen Training School. He was chairman of pump operation one week each summer for 25 years.
He also was an instructor for project transition for the police academy. He was a certified firefighter with the Texas Fire Commission, carrying a level two instructor rating with the commission.
While Mr. Spaulding was the training officer in Killeen, he was appointed to help revise the IFSTA manual on fire apparatus and mathematics. This was through Stillwater, Oklahoma University.
Mr. Spaulding was a volunteer training officer for Killeen FD under supervision of Chief Keith Langford. In 1983, he helped build and organize the Southwest County Volunteer Fire Department off State Highway 195 in Killeen. He was instrumental in building three of the fire trucks that the department started with.
He worked in getting grants to enlarge the station, buy fire equipment and radios for the department. He instructed the firefighters in fire suppression.
Mr. Spaulding was with Southwest for 21 years as a fire chief and assistant fire chief. Southwest has continued to grow and serve the people of this area. He resigned due to bad health. Joe Bailey took over as fire chief and continues in that position.
Over the years, he was a 32 Degree Mason at Killeen Lodge No. 1125.
In 1992, he was nominated for the Frank Mayborn Humanitarian Award. He was Scout Master for the Explorer Scouts for several years in the 1960s. He was a third-generation firefighter. His grandfather was a 25-year volunteer firefighter in Hico; his father at Fort Hood for 34 years; and he was a firefighter for 48½ years.
Special thanks to SWBCVFD for all their help and kindness shown to us.
Mr. Spaulding was preceded in death by his parents, Noel and Stella Spaulding.
Survivors include his wife of 56 years, Beth Spaulding; their children, Kim Palmer and her husband, Greg, of Grand Prairie, Vickie Thompson and her husband, Alan, of Cedar Park and Bennie Spaulding Jr. and his wife, Ashli, of Porter; three grandchildren, Tiffany Pace of Grand Prairie, Andrew Thompson and his fiancée, Sam Driscoll, of Georgetown and Sophia Spaulding of Porter; step-grandson, Kyle Cullins of Brookshire; step-granddaughter, Katy Cullins of Cleveland; great-granddaughter, Kelsey Pace, of Grand Prairie; great-granddaughter Kinsley Thompson of Georgetown; step-granddaughter, Heather Hortness, of Austin; step-granddaughter, Leah Palmer Thomas and her husband, Thomas, of Keller; step-grandson, Jeffrey Palmer of Dallas; step-grandson, Adam Palmer, of Keller; great-step-granddaughter, Sarah Hortness of Austin; great-step-grandson, Riley Hortness, of Austin; and great-stepson, Karson Palmer, of Grand Prairie.
Memorials may be made to Southwest Bell County Volunteer Fire Department, 258 Triple 7 Trail, Killeen TX 76542.
Visitation is from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday at Crawford-Bowers Funeral Home in Killeen. Offer condolences at www.crawfordbowersfuneralhome.com.