Lelia Mae Spencer was born on February 28th, 1942, in Domino, Texas to the union of William and Evelyn Maxwell. Lelia was the first of eight children. As a child, she enjoyed being with her family and friends, shopping, roller skating, going to the movies, and traveling on the train. Her favorite part was flagging it down. During her upbringing, the family united with St. Paul C.M.E Church in Domino, Texas, and later in Texarkana, where they joined Hopewell C.M.E. She then began her education at Rosenwald and Thoron High School.
As many African American families in the early 1950s, the family migrated to Portland, Oregon. There she began to seek employment and educational opportunities. After moving to Portland, she attended Jefferson High School. During those years she attended the Rose City Festival where she met and fell in love with a handsome Navy Sailor, Marshall Spencer Jr. They soon married and began to travel through the United States. After many years of traveling, the family settled in Portland, Oregon. There Lelia joined Allen Temple C.M.E Church, where she served on the usher board. She also held many jobs to support her family. She worked as a head housekeeper at the Hilton Hotel and held various positions as a janitor at AMB and Coast Janitorial services where she later retired from.
Throughout the years of her marriage, and to their union was born Carolette (Texarkana, TX), Michael (Portland, OR), Marcus (Columbus, GA) Maurice (Norfork, VA) and Melvin “Ronald” (Brooklyn, NY). In the later years, she adopted and cared for her grandson, Demarcus Spencer Sr. and her nephew, Lavon Maxwell.
Lelia loved to cook and spend time with her family and friends. She was known for her special mac and cheese, greens, potato and 7-layer salad. She enjoyed cooking so much she often thought of starting a restaurant, but instead her home became that. She opened her doors to more than just family, even friends. Anyone could depend on Lelia Mae for a place to be safe, sleep, eat, and be comforted. She showed nothing but unconditional love, and always kept it real! Throughout her years of life, she enjoyed the pleasures of uniting and raising her family. After Madeas passing she quickly comforted everyone and became the family's Matriarch. Lelia held many titles of being the family’ s favorite auntie and second mom to many. She did it with style and grace. She filled up many empty hearts with her beautiful smile and laugh. She impacted so many lives in positive ways that she cannot be forgotten. She was phenomenal, she was beautiful, she was amazing, Lelia Mae is irreplaceable.
Preceding her in death was her father, William Maxwell Jr.; mother, Evelyn Mathews; husband, Marshall Spencer Jr.; brother, David Maxwell; sister, Eunice Maxwell-Ford; daughter, Carolette Spencer; and grandson, Demarcus Spencer Sr.
She leaves behind her loved ones to cherish her love and memories forever. Her stepfather, W.J Matthews; sister, Tacy Marie “Joe”, Johnnie Mae Anderson, Mable Ruth Maxwell, Nacole Romano, (all of Portland, OR), and Jaqueline Maxwell (of Longview, TX); best friend, Esther Waters (of Portland, OR); sons, Michael Spencer Sr. (Glenna), Marcus Spencer Sr. (Felecia), Maurice Spencer (Stephanie), Melvin “Ronald” Spencer, and Lavon Maxwell; 22 grandchildren, 32 great grandchildren, 2 great great great grandchildren; and a host of nieces and nephews who love her dearly.
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