Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
Ann Reese Spencer (88), of Artesia, New Mexico, went to join her LORD and heavenly family on Monday, October 5, 2020. Surrounded by her family, Ann died at Good Life Senior Living and Memory Care in Artesia. Cremation has taken place under the direction of Terpening & Son Mortuary and Ann’s ashes will be interred at the First Evangelical Presbyterian Church columbarium alongside her husband and parents in a private family service. Ann was a wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, sister, aunt, and wonderful friend to many. She was deeply loved.
Ann was born in Lubbock, Texas on October 13, 1931 to George Lee Reese Jr and Lila Simms Reese, both deceased. She married Herbert Spencer on August 10, 1950 in Carlsbad, New Mexico and they lived together in Artesia, New Mexico until his death on March 30, 2018.
Ann is survived by her three daughters: Beverlee Lanning and husband David of Roswell, New Mexico; Kary Ross and husband Robert of Searcy, Arkansas; Bobbie Mohler and husband Gary of Warsaw, Indiana. Five grandchildren: Matthew Lanning and wife Megan of Mansfield, Texas; R. Taylor Ross and wife Elizabeth of Searcy, Arkansas; Amanda Fletcher Furbee of Portland, Oregon; Spencer Ross and wife Becca of Searcy, Arkansas; Christopher Fletcher and wife Karmen of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Also surviving Ann are her fourteen great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews. Preceding Ann in death were her husband Herb, her parents and her older sister, Jane Reese Heinsch.
No memorial service for Ann is currently scheduled. Please share your memories of Ann with the family in care of Beverlee Lanning, 4002 S Spring Loop, Roswell, NM 88203.
Known as “Annie” or “Gran” by her grandchildren, one of whom perfectly describes her as having a “larger-than-life personality and spunk.” She was a “fabulous, strong, opinionated, loving, funny, caring, and giving woman.” She had a “free spirit and no ‘BS’ attitude.” Ann is known by family and friends for her “Annie-isms,” funny turns-of-phrase, spoonerisms, quick quips and jokes. She could argue, and win, political debate with the best of them. She was generous to a fault. A favorite story of her grandchildren is about her “Magic Carpet.” Upon noticing that this favorite rug was missing from her home, her grandchild asked of its whereabouts. Not missing a beat, Annie, matter-of-factly, reported that she “sent it to Baghdad for repairs.”
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Ann had the “gift of home.” She created comfort and charm for her family. Ann is known for her culinary comforts and enduring family recipes such a New Mexico red chile stacked enchiladas (with an egg of course), pinto beans, lemon meringue pie, and her special pumpkin pie. She had an affinity for quirky, whimsical trinkets in her home and southwestern style as noted in her adobe-style home. Not ones to take family vacations, Ann enjoyed spoiling her family at Christmas. Her children and grandchildren remember with glee her “blow-out” Christmases.
Ann loved all things music. She loved singing in the choir at the First Presbyterian Church. Included in her love for the World War 2 era, she loved the music of the 40’s. Musical scores and love songs were favorites. Ann was a fan of epic, historical movies like Gone with the Wind. Family television shows often included medical and detective programs.
In her mid-40’s (1976), Ann fulfilled her dream of earning her degree as a Registered Nurse and immediately became Director of Nurses at Artesia Good Samaritan Nursing Home. Later, she earned her Administrator’s license and worked as interim Administrator for Lea County Good Samaritan facilities. She provided consultation for area Good Samaritan nursing home facilities. Adding to her medical repertoire and love for community, Ann proudly served multiple terms as an elected board member of the Artesia Special Hospital District and later, the Corporate Board of Directors for the Presbyterian Hospital System. She had a special love for the challenges of smaller hospitals and providing quality care for those in rural communities.
In addition to reading, her hobbies included genealogy. She leaves behind an extensive library of curated records, letters, and photographs of family history. She was a long-time active member of the Genealogy Society in Artesia. Her daughters endearingly remember traipsing with her around ancient cemeteries looking for relatives in Alabama, Georgia, Texas, North Carolina, and Arkansas.
Adding to Ann’s variety of interests and community contributions, she ran the summer swimming instruction program for many years. One motivating factor for this position was to provide funds for her daughters to participate in the Artesia Aquatic Association’s Waterdogs summer swim team program. The swim team was a major part of her family’s culture and memories. One year, the swim team needed a last-minute replacement coach for the season. Working conjunctively in the bookstore at the then active College of Artesia, Ann gleaned an experienced coach from the student body. Ed Tibbs and assisting friend, Joe “Buffy” Bufalino, from Ohio and New York, respectively, continue to be a vital part of the family as “adopted sons.”
Though, at heart, Ann would forever espouse her alma mater, the Carlsbad Cavemen, she and Herb were avid Artesia Bulldog fans and attended Artesia High School events as long as their health allowed.
Rounding out Ann’s eclectic interests was her love of the Presbyterian Church. One of her soul passions was singing soprano in the choir for many years. She also served on the Session, part of the governing body of her church.
Ann and Herb cultivated friendships with area couples and with whom had some pretty hilarious vacations in their later years. One such, included a trip to Hawaii where they helped crew a small sailing vessel. A few of their crew were not sure they would make it home alive. Ann’s visit to Hawaii planted a love for the Islands and in 2011, Ann realized a dream of taking her entire family of 23 members to Hawaii. This trip was coined as “The Trip of a Lifetime.” As a special tribute, her family (now 35 members) plans to memorialize her life by returning to Hawaii in the summer, 2021.
The family extends special gratitude towards those who skillfully and lovingly cared for our mother during the last trying years of her life, including COVID. More than just doing their jobs, the professionals at Good Life Senior Living and Memory Care, Artesia; Encompass Hospice and Home Health, Chaves and Eddy Counties; and Peachtree Village Retirement Community, Roswell, loved and laughed with our mother when we could not be with her. We are thankful to her providers: Johnny Moreno, MD; Joe Salgado, MD; Diane Jones, CNP; Tammy Sherrell, CNP; Stephen Muhr, PA and his nurse Annie; and Herbert U. Ojiaku, MD and additional private caregivers.
In her final hours, the family sang favorite hymns over Ann and lovingly helped her aboard her Magic Carpet toward a heavenly party to join Herb in his chariot, her parents, sister and friends who have gone before. Heaven will never be the same.
Please send memorials in Ann’s name to organizations listed below or an organization of your choice:
First Evangelical Presbyterian Church, 402 West Grand, Artesia, New Mexico 88210
Good Life Senior Living and Memory Care, 906 Pistachio Trail, Artesia, New Mexico 88210