'Example that God only takes the best'

Spencer McGregor, 18, will never get to hold his newborn son. In the days after his early Saturday morning death, friends and family spoke about the tragedy of his never being able to be the wonderful father and husband they knew he would one day become.
Krystle Wagner
Apr 8, 2013



Through tears and smiles, they remember McGregor as a kind, giving and loving young man who was excited about what the future held.

The Grand Haven Township man perished just a few streets away from his family's home when he apparently lost control of his Jeep while traveling northwest on Mercury Drive. The SUV went off the road, rolled over and struck a tree. He was declared dead at 5:15 a.m.

The Ottawa County Sheriff's Department continues to investigate the crash and no further details were available.

The 2012 Grand Haven High School graduate's sister, Tara Wheeler, said they think he was on his way home because the crash occurred so close to the family's residence.

"I wish I had more time to spend with him," the 26-year-old said. "Spencer was my little buddy."

From age 1, McGregor attended Grand Haven Church of the Nazarene, where his strong faith blossomed. Every summer he looked forward to Indian Lake Nazarene Camp and family camping trips, said his sister, Autumn McGregor.

Autumn said her brother loved his friends, family and always gave without expecting anything in return.

"I will miss him greatly," she said.

When McGregor's cousin, Cameron Vollmer, heard that the man he considered a brother had died, he thought there must be some mistake.

"I didn't think it was real," the 19-year-old said quietly.

The two teens spent a lot of time together and shared a passion for skateboarding. The duo often skated at the Grand Haven Skate Park. Vollmer said his younger cousin was smart, but didn't like to show it.

For the past year or two, McGregor worked at Asp Plating Co. in Grand Haven. He often talked about pursuing additional schooling at Muskegon Community College, but he didn't say what career path he wanted to follow.

Autumn said her brother expressed an interest in drawing and art because he loved to create images.

One part of McGregor's future that family said he looked forward to the most was becoming a father when his girlfriend, Hayley Start, gives birth to their son in June.

"He would have made an excellent father and husband," Autumn said.

Since Saturday, Start has filled her Facebook page with pictures of her and McGregor.

One picture is of a text message conversation between the couple in which Start said she was going to sleep and McGregor responded by texting, "Sounds good tell our child daddy loves him or her lol :) gnight."

In the picture's caption, Start wrote, "I don't really know what to think. I'm hoping it's a dream and I'm going to wake up soon and get a text from you like I always get every morning saying how much you miss me and our son and you can't wait to see me. Spencer, you will always be in my heart and in my mind. I'll let Grayson know that his daddy loved him more than anything."

Start and McGregor met at a friend's bonfire and began dating this past summer.

He made her smile, rapping silly songs or tickling her, Start said. She said there are many things she will miss about him, including his love.

Start said it's sad her son won't have the chance to meet his father, but she will keep McGregor's memory alive by sharing with their son his father's loving spirit and passion for art and skateboarding.

"I can't wait until our son is here and I get to tell him how awesome his father was," she said.

Community reaction came swiftly to news of McGregor's death.

Through years of sleepovers, birthday parties, pool parties and youth group, Laura Potter, who is friends with his sister, said she watched him grow into a wonderful, charismatic young man who had a contagious smile.

"His death is a tragedy to not only his family, but also his friends, classmates and church family," she said. "He will be deeply missed."

During McGregor's high school years, he wrestled with Ellen Douma's son, Jasin Cook. Douma said the boys spent almost every day together.

"He was such a kind, sweet boy," she said. "He was very nice and would be friends and kind to anyone."

Social media websites such as Facebook lit up with posts supporting the family and mourning the young man's death.

“Just another example that God only takes the best,” wrote Jillian Rae VanderHyde, who knew McGregor from their Grand Haven High School days. "You will be in our hearts forever. My thoughts and prayers will be with your family and friends. R.I.P Spencer McGregor. It was too early for you to go, but heaven gained another angel.”

Through the family's difficult time, Autumn said community support has been unbelievable.

"Without God and the support we have, I don't know how people make it through something like this," she said.





That vehicle is nearly bent in half. I'm leaning towards excessive speed around that curve as the cause.


The rumor mill is especially rampant on this one. I move that we all reserve our speculations and blame until after the police report is done and the family has had a chance to grieve without reading the usual stuff that ends up on here. Everyone can agree that this is a sad waste of a young life.
And yes, I know I'm as bad as anyone else with my usual comments, and no, I don't know the family.


Good call, GH. A good-looking and promising young man is gone, and a child will grow up not knowing his father. That's a shame, regardless of whatever decisions were made prior to his accident. Sincere condolences to his family.


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