Spencer Nitchie, co-owner/operator of Banjo NewsLetter, died on August 6 following a brief bout with liver and pancreatic cancer. He was 57 years of age.
Since 1992, Spencer and his brother, Donald, have run the publication launched by their father, Hub, who died that year. Hub launched it as a print periodical in 1971, taking it to the status of a ‘must have’ monthly magazine for lovers of all kinds of five string banjo music. Since taking over for their dad, the Nitchies have increased circulation and moved Banjo NewsLetter online, though the print edition is still shipped every month.
Before becoming a publisher, Spencer had attended Towson State College in Maryland. He then took the classic journey of discovery traveling in Europe with his guitar in 1984. Playing on the streets of London, Paris, Nice, Florence, Athens and other cities, he learned a number of different languages and returned to the States with a wife, Silvia Breida of Rivigliasco, Italy. After Silvia’s passing in 1990, Spencer took on the role of single parent to their daughter, Sofia.
Spencer was remarried in 2018 to his long-time partner, Tara Boyle, on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts where he was born.
Donald remembered his brother and partner in his editor’s Callous Thumb column of the September issue thusly.
On August 6, 2021, my beloved brother Spencer passed away from pancreatic cancer. He had been diagnosed in early May. It happened very fast, and since he was in pain, blessedly so. At the time of his death, Spencer was 57: a musician, father, husband, brother, son and loving friend to many. He was especially appreciated in the traditional Irish music scene of Maryland, where his expertise on several instruments, including tenor banjo, flute, fiddle, concertina, guitar, and penny whistle, was an inspiration and encouragement to others. Spencer was also the one most BNL readers were in contact with, because he answered the phone, dealt with subscriptions, renewals, passwords for online and back issues, along with his other duties with printing and mailing.
R.I.P., Spencer Nitchie.
UPDATE 9/3/21 – Banjo NewsLetter has announced that they are suspending publication.