H Spees, a Fresno pastor, former City Hall official and one-time mayoral candidate, died on Friday — succumbing to injuries after a fall, his family said.
Spees, 70 of Clovis, was in Florida when a cardiac event apparently caused a fall and a head injury, several media outlets reported.
He is survived by his wife Terry, children and several grandchildren.
“I speak on behalf of Terry, all of H’s children and grandchildren, when I express the unfathomable depth of gratitude we all are experiencing. You all have been so kind with words, expressing the value of H’s life and his profound imprint on every person he spent time with,” Spees’ daughter Corrie Sands posted on the Caring Bridge website.
Ran For Mayor in 2016
Active in the church and community events for decades, Spees formally entered the political arena, running for Fresno mayor in 2016. He finished third with 18% of the vote in the primary behind eventually winner Lee Brand, and Henry Perea.
Brand hired Spees for his administration. With the title of Director of Strategic Initiatives, Spees handled City Hall’s homeless initiatives, and solving other social issues. When Jerry Dyer took office in 2021, he retained Spees, with a focus on homeless and housing. Spees retired from City Hall in 2022.
“My heart is broken over the loss of my dear friend and a long time pillar in this community, H Spees. H has been a trusted friend and confidant of mine for more the 30 years. He has always been there for me and Diane especially in some of our darkest days,” Dyer wrote Twitter.
Said Darius Assemi, GV Wire publisher and president/CEO of Granville Homes: “H is an icon of our community. I met him at one of our downtown projects. His passion for reviving our city especially downtown is contagious. He will be missed.”
A man strong in faith, Spees served as senior pastor for Northwest Church in Fresno from 2003-2007. Previously, he worked as the executive director for Youth for Christ Fresno/Madera.
Brand Shares Memories
“I’m at a loss, very saddened by his his death,” Brand said, calling Spees a brother. “He was well-loved by the community. And he was a man of God, a family man who loved his family dearly. I can’t think of anybody that H didn’t like.”
Brand said Spees’ mayoral endorsement in 2016 helped win the election.
“He put his own credentials on the line. He went out for me. He spoke for me. He was a terrific campaigner. I would say his endorsement was probably instrumental in getting elected to mayor,” Brand said.
Brand remembers the contentious meetings Spees had with the community and city council, and how cool he remained.
“H had no mean bone in his body. He was so patient, so diligent, working with people, trying to pull people together,” Brand said.
Recovering from thyroid cancer last year, Brand told GV Wire he asked Spees to provide his eulogy if he did not survive.
“But, he died before me,” Brand said.