From Watermelon Inspector to the White House
When LtCol Spencer Faircloth, USAF(ret) called and asked me to help him tell the story of his incredible life, I immediately agreed. I’d heard tales of the globetrotting White House Committee Director, read news stories about his exploits with politicians, actors, military heroes and mob bosses … but I had no idea the extent that the reality would eclipse the rumor. I walked into his home and found walls lined with pictures of people usually found on the front of newspapers and the pages of history books.
“Spence,” as I would come to know him, was gregarious, forthright and hospitable. He welcomed me, and we moved out to his Florida Room. I flipped on my recorder as he began to hold court, sharing the story of a life that could easy be captured on the big screen … though not likely contained to it. Three hours later he was still spinning stories, but I had to call it a day. I left with a head brimming with tales and an 80-page document titled Been There, Done That.
Sixty-plus hours of interviews, two years of work and four revisions later, we finished the book now called From Watermelon Inspector to the White House.
The book was published in April 2015, and almost immediately received rave reviews. Here are a few highlights:
“What a great read! I was totally absorbed in the book. Some of my favorite parts were learning about Gerald Ford … Imagine meeting Sean Connery! Secretary Brennan’s story was very funny, and I enjoyed the secretive part of Cambodia and Laos. My favorite part was about ‘your Mary’. What a great love story!”
– Vonnie De Rico
“Lt Col Faircloth takes us on a journey from the Depression era South to hallowed halls of the White House. From growing up down the road from Carter to working with a famous Tuskegee Airman to running a committee in the Nixon White House … you get up close and personal portraits of some of the biggest names of the 20th century. I particularly enjoyed the sections on rebuilding post-war Europe, and the part with the camel on the airplane had me laughing out loud. All that plus the drama of the space race, shady carpetbagging developers and an honest-to-goodness love story.”
– Ed Dixon
“Grab this book and settle down for a great read. Go on the journey beginning in rural Georgia and if you have the chance, get to Sun City, Florida to meet this amazing gentleman in person. Great story!”
– Brian Pomeroy
“From Watermelon Inspector to the White House is a ticket on a time machine with stops at many of the most important moments of the 20th Century. Your tour guide, Lt Col H. Spencer Faircloth USAF (ret.), is a born storyteller with a lifetime of tales to tell, secrets to share and a fresh, first-hand perspective on the people and events that shaped the American Century.” – Beacon Reviews
Here is just part of the story:
Born in rural Georgia in 1929, Henry Spencer Faircloth’s distinguished 24-year career in the United States Air Force would take him a long way from his roots working as a soda jerk in his dad’s drugstore, but he would never forget the vital life lessons he learned growing up during lean Depression and tense War years.
Working several jobs, including watermelon inspector, to put himself through college, Spencer enlisted in the USAF as a Basic Airman in 1950. After completing OCS, he was commissioned as an officer and began a career that would include post-war rebuilding efforts in Europe, training airmen on two continents to help win the Space Race, serving on the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh and writing letters for Presidents Johnson and Nixon. Faircloth’s distinguished military career would culminate in a Presidential appointment as Executive Director of the Jobs For Veterans Committee, another globe-spanning vocation that introduced Spencer to a plethora of powerbrokers and history makers in politics, the military, business and entertainment.
Along the way Spencer married the woman of his dreams, Mary, who would be his best buddy and boon companion for fifty-two years.
After retiring from the USAF in 1974, Lt Col Faircloth served as Assistant Vice President at the Equitable Life Assurance Society, spent more than a decade as a licensed real estate broker in NYC and worked in real estate development in California, Kentucky, Virginia and Florida. His work in the Sunshine State included serving as VP and GM of the development of Freedom Plaza, a continuing care facility in Sun City Center, FL.
After 18 years as First Vice President and Trust Officer for SunTrust Bank, Spencer retired for the third time. He continues to serve his community on various nonprofit boards, teaches seminars and gives talks related to his military and business careers.
“For an old country boy from South Georgia, I never dreamed of all the adventures my journey through life would produce. From Leesburg High School to post-war Europe to the Oval Office of the White House…Along the way I discovered the secret to success is to learn whatever you can and look for ways to help. That approach to life has carried me across the world and back more times than I can count and allowed me to work with people who have, literally, changed the world… I feel blessed to have lived this life, and I hope my stories are an equal blessing to you.”