Addie Belle Ford Spencer, also known as “A.B.” or “Miss Addie” was a licensed practice nurse.
Spencer died March 11, 2012. She was 108.
She was born Oct. 24, 1903, in Fairfax County, Ridgeway, S.C. She was the seventh of nine children.
Spencer was taught from an early age the value and importance of gaining an education, which she embraced fully.
After graduating as a licensed practical nurse from the Franklin Schools in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, she worked in hospitals and as a private duty nurse for more than 30 years.
She was married to Samuel Spencer until his death in l965. Four children were born to this union, three girls and one boy.
Spencer led a very active civic life. She was a lifetime member of the NAACP, a lifetime member of the Bathsheba Chapter, No. 25 of the order of Eastern Star Prince Hall, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Deborah Grand Chapter, where she held the distinction of Past Worthy Matron.
She was a member of the Pennsylvania State Federation of Negro Women’s Clubs, Inc., (the local organization referred to as the Music and Arts Club), and the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs.
She was very active at the Hope Baptist Church in Braddock, Pa., where she served for more than 80 years. She received commendations from the church for her leadership and participation in the various other church organizations. She served as a Sunday school teacher and a deaconess. She was also a member of the Senior Missionary, the Gospel Chorus and the senior Usher Board.
She founded the “Willing Workers Organization” of the church to engage both the new members and those who were inactive. She had strong leadership and organizational skills and was gifted as a fundraiser.
While living with her youngest daughter, Rosa Lee Smith, for six years in Philadelphia, she became an affiliate member of the Berean Presbyterian Church, U. S. A. on January 9, 2000.
For the last 12 years, Spencer resided in Los Angeles with her daughter, Essie Mae Wright, where they worshipped together at the Crenshaw Christian Center.
She worked until the age of 93. Her children and grandchildren encouraged her to retire long before she was willing to do so.
For more than 20 years, she was employed as a foster grandmother working four hours, nurturing young babies. She served in this capacity at the Carlow College in Pittsburgh for students interested in Early Childhood Development. This was Spencer’s last formal employment and the position from which she retired.
Spencer’s husband Samuel; daughter, Pauline; and son, James, preceded her in death.
She is survived by her daughters, Essie Mae Wright of Inglewood, Calif. and Rosa Lee Smith of Philadelphia; five grandchildren; and 19 great-grandchildren.