Life Story / Obituary
All who knew Vera Spencer would agree that she was truly beautiful on the inside and out. She was guided by an unwavering faith, and she willingly gave of herself to all who were near. Deeply devoted to her family, Vera treasured her roles as a wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She had an amazing sense of humor, and her zest for life was contagious to all who were near. Life will never be the same without Vera here, but she leaves behind a timeless legacy that her loved ones will proudly carry on in her footsteps.
It was great to be an American during the decade that we commonly recall as the Roaring Twenties. Jazz music, ballroom dancing, and motion pictures in both color and sound kept us on our toes, and this was the time when the lights of Broadway were at their brightest. Cars were more affordable than ever before, and radios brought the world around us within our reach. Amidst this eventful time was a time of great celebration in the lives of John and Emma (Hill) Mason as they announced the birth of the baby girl they named Vera on March 31, 1921, in Kirksville, Missouri. She was the only child in her family and the apple of her parents’ eye. Vera’s parents both worked as her father was a farmer and also worked at a shoe factory. Vera’s mother was primarily a homemaker, but she also worked at a convenience store and cooked for the farmhands. In many ways Vera was a young girl of her generation, and she enjoyed dancing while in school Vera even learned how to tap dance.
New and exciting were in store for Vera when she met the young man of her dreams. His name was Charles Marion Spencer, and he was working as a messenger at Western Union at the time. They began dating, and it wasn’t long before the couple found themselves deeply in love. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together they were married on March 15, 1941, in Moberly, Missouri. The newlyweds initially lived with her husband’s parents, but they later moved to Washington where they lived with Aunt Nel and Uncle Arthur. Together they were blessed with the births of their two children, James Charles (J.C.) and Marilyn. Vera was known for her fantastic skills in the kitchen as she was famous for her homemade spaghetti and meatballs, fried chicken, peanut butter fudge, chocolate fudge, and chocolate pudding. Although she did enjoy cooking, she also liked getting food from Vitales, KFC, Cousins Tasty Chicken, and Shulers. As a mother Vera was protective and even strict at times, but it was all because she so deeply loved her family and wanted what was best for them. She also knew how to have fun. As her family grew to include grandchildren Vera was thrilled, and she spent as much time with her family as she could. There was one time that she called her grandson over for an “emergency.” As it turns out, the emergency was that she needed a pickle jar opened!
There were so many things that kept Vera busy through the years. She spent several years working at Herpolsheimer's Department Store in Grand Rapids, and from there she worked in food service at the Canteen at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. Finally, Vera worked in food service for Clark Retirement Home. She was a longtime member of First United Methodist Church in Grand Rapids where she helped with many dinners, and she also sang in the choir at the Methodist church in North Salem, Indiana. Vera loved dancing throughout her life, especially to the tunes of the big band and swing era and people like Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey. She also loved square dancing and polka and was still dancing when she was 95 years young! A lover of the arts, Vera also volunteered as an usher with the Grand Rapids Civic Auditorium. They didn’t travel a lot, but when they did go on vacation it was often to see family in Missouri. They also liked going to Indiana Beach and the amusement park in Monticello, Indiana. During her retirement years, Vera liked driving herself to Kirkville, Missouri, or to take more local trips to Traverse City. She often went to garage sales with her granddaughter, but it has been said that she was a bit of a backseat driver. Vera collected a lot of cat knick knacks from family and friends, and she also had several vintage items and antiques that were passed down to her from older family members. She was an amazing seamstress who made bridesmaid dresses, various costumes, and did precise alterations. Vera learned braille and sign language, and she must have loved the first pair of jeans that she got as a birthday gift when she was 75 since she still wore jeans when she was 97!
With a life that spanned times of war and times of peace, times of plenty and times of want, Vera Spencer was an extraordinary woman to know and love. She was a loving mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother who always went above and beyond to make the holidays warm and beautiful. Always ready to help in ways both great and small, Vera blessed so many others over the years. Deeply loved, she will be forever missed.
SPENCER, Vera, Grand Rapids, MI, Age 97, passed away at Heather Hills Care Center on April 7, 2018. Vera was born March 31, 1921 to the late John & Emma (Hill) Mason in Kirksville, MO. She is also preceded in death by her husband, Charles Marion Spencer. Vera will be remembered as a loving mother & grandmother who was a great cook with a wonderful sense of humor. She is survived by her children, J.C. (Dinah) Spencer of Grand Rapids, Marilyn Gervenak of Fremont; grandchildren, Greg Mottashed, Charles (Sarah) Mottashed, Molly (Matt) Vokes, Curt (Sherryl) Spencer & Trinity (Christine) Spencer; and great grandchildren, Jacob, Laney, Chance, John, Savanah, Audrey, Evelyn, Alec & Andrew. A funeral service will be held Saturday, April 14 at 12 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home 1833 Plainfield Ave NE where friends may visit her family beginning at 11 AM. Interment will be in Union Cemetery, Kirksville, MO. Please visit Vera's web page to leave a memory or condolence at www.lifestorynet.com.