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Ruth Amaela Van Cleave Spencer
Born and raised in Terre Haute, Indiana, Ruth passed away very peacefully at home in Bishop on Jan. 11, 2012, with family by her side. Ruth was 96 and died from renal failure and complications of cancers.
Ruth’s parents were Maurice B. Van Cleave, M.D. and Pearl Jolley Van Cleave. Her only sibling, Mary Emerelous Reintjes of Short Hills, N.J., predeceased Ruth. In Terre Haute, she earned her B.A. from Indiana State Teachers College, later named Indiana State University, and completed her graduate work leading to a Masters of Science. In her early career, Ruth worked in the University speech-language pathology clinic in Terre Haute and later earned her California State Teaching Credential. Ruth was intelligent, creative, fun to be with, caring, appreciative and generous.
She’s been described as inspiring, special, wonderful and amazing! She kept her sharp mind and good humor throughout her entire life.
Ruth moved to California in 1945 to marry S. S. “Bud” Spencer and they lived most of their 55 years together in San Gabriel. In Southern California, Ruth was active in the San Marino Community Church, PTA, San Gabriel Civic Light Opera Association and the S.G. Rotaryanns. She served her community in Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, school activities and as a science teacher. After the death of her husband in 2000, Ruth moved to Bishop in 2002, where she enjoyed family and friendships made in her neighborhood and at the Senior Center and Methodist Church. She loved the natural beauty, wildlife and scenery of the Eastern Sierra as well as its parades, fairs and festivities.
Ruth was a devoted wife and mother.
She is survived by her daughter, Susan Spencer Camphouse (John) of Bishop and their children and spouses, David (Anna) Camphouse of Santa Maria, Kathy (Scott) Strickman of New York City, and Debbie (Rick) Sperry of Riverside; and her son, William J. Spencer (Dayle) of Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii and their sons, Matthew Spencer-Grice of Portland, Ore. and Geoffrey T. Powell of Nashville, Tenn. A year ago, Ruth was predeceased by her step-granddaughter, Allison L. Powell. There are five great-grandchildren: Noah (’03), Orli (’05), and Asaph (’11) Strickman, Sophia Camphouse (’08), and) Ruth Mae Sperry (’11).
Always an animal lover, Ruth had raised dogs, tortoises, horses and goats.
At one point she was going to be a veterinarian.
The family asks that donations in her name be made to the animal shelter, www.icareforpets.org (ICARE, P.O. Box 76, Bishop, CA 93515), or to the wild animal rescue group www.eswildlifecare.org (ESWC, P.O. Box 368, Bishop, CA 93515), both serving the Eastern Sierra.
In honor of Ruth’s requests there will be no services.
The family wishes to thank Dr. N. Hathaway, Dr. T. Bortolazzo and Roberta Cummings, hospice RN, and the folks at Dwaynes for their compassion, patience, help and support.