Rachel (Thelma Holly) ( Spencer ) Roberts


Monday morning June 19, our dear mother, grandmother, great grandmother and mother-in-law died peacefully in her sleep at care center Maria Oord in Vinkeveen, The Netherlands.  She had been living nearby in Abcoude with her daughter Sally Montoya for several years.  Rachel was born December 30,1914, in Bradford, PA, the second youngest of seven children of Edwin and Susie Belle (Washburn) Holly. 

In her 108 years, Rachel was witness to many historic events.  One of her first memories was of her father waking her up to watch the fireworks at the end of World War I.  She watched how proudly her mother dressed in her Sunday best to vote for the very first time after the 19th amendment was passed in 1920.  She also claimed to have seen the very first Zippo lighter when its inventor wandered into her workplace in Bradford, PA to show off his windproof lighter. 

Rachel graduated from Bradford High School in 1933 in the depths of the depression (and went to her 60th reunion in 1993).  She married Arthur (Art) Lunden Spencer in 1936, and they had two children, Dale and Sally.  Art and Rachel both worked for Dresser Industries in Bradford during WW II and moved to Euclid, Ohio when Dresser did in about 1948.  She was one of those typists who could do over 100 words per minute on an old manual typewriter.  She and Art retired to Florida in 1976; Art died in 1979.

She married her second husband Roy Roberts in 1986.  After his death in 1997 she decided to split her time between her son in Massachusetts and her daughter in The Netherlands.  She made friends wherever she went and was a beloved fixture in Abcoude even though she didn’t speak Dutch. 

Rachel excelled at handwork of all kinds, knitting and crocheting for friends and relations.  She would pickle and can any vegetable that she had excess of.  She played piano well enough to accompany silent movie showings as a teenager and always had a chord organ to play in her home.  She learned to play card games so young that she was still winning at gin rummy at the age of 108. 

She was predeceased by her son, Dale, her parents and her siblings.  She is survived by her daughter Sally Montoya of Abcoude, NL; grandchildren Alicia Montoya (husband, Basil Nyaku) of Abcoude, NL, Amy Spencer-Forrest (husband, Daniel Forrest) of Scituate, MA, Jean Spencer (husband, Dallas Raleigh) of Manchester-by-the-Sea, and Bill Spencer of Beverly, MA; her great grandchildren Samuel and Nathaniel Nyaku, Felix Raleigh, and Cordelia Forrest; her daughter-in-law Pam Spencer of Manchester-by-the-Sea.

She did not want a funeral with speeches and sadness, so please celebrate her life with a raised glass (preferably Heineken!) and tales of how well she navigated the world and the decades through which she lived.  Peace.

arthur (art) lunden spencer, cordelia forrest, maria oord, roy roberts, daniel forrest, pam spencer, bradford high school, thelma holly, amy spencer-forrest, susie belle, alicia montoya, vinkeveen, basil nyaku, jean spencer, nathaniel nyaku, bill spencer, felix raleigh, sally montoya, holly cunningham, manchester