Philip Howard Spencer dies at 96 years old

Yesterday I attended the memorial service for cousin Philip (with one L like the disciple- he says) Howard Spencer at the Media Presbyterian Church in Media, PA. It was a wonderful celebration of his life with many of his paintings, photos and great stories told by his sons and grandchildren. Cousin Phil, born 24 Jan 1927, died 10 Jun 2023 at Maris Grove Retirement Village, in Glen Mills, PA, was the son of Howard and Mary (White) Spencer.

“He is survived by a sister, Eizabeth Drusedum and three sons, Blake Spencer (Jennifer Brown) of Strafford, VT; Scott Spencer (Barbara) of Rehoboth, MA and Stuart Spencer (Leslie) of Moorestown, NJ. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Christopher McGrath (Catherine), Robin Spencer, Katies Spencer, Annik Spencer Allen (Danny), Samuel Spencer, and Miles Spencer, and one great grandchild, Thomas McGrath. He spent his career as a partner of Spencer Stationary Company in Chester, PA and was a Navy veteran of World War II.

A man of deep faith, Philip was a longtime Elder and Bible teacher at Media Presbyterian Church where he fostered his love of music by singing tenor in the choir. He also volunteered with the Salvation Army for more than five decades. Always charming and quick with a joke, Philip loved to be around people and people loved to be around him. Anyone who met him couldn’t help but feel the warmth of his open heart, curious nature, honorable character, and compassion for others. He loved jazz music, had a nearly encyclopedic memory for song lyrics and could always be found spinning people around the dance floor at weddings and family gatherings, eye twinkling in his signature bow tie. A self-taught, talented watercolorist, many have Philip’s paintings proudly displayed in their homes. Philip will be profoundly missed, but his spirit will live on in the impact that he has left on so many.” ( From memorial program)

His many likes and talents were incorporated in his service, with the City Brass band playing jazzy songs, finalizing with “As The Saints Go Marching In” sung by those in attendance and Rev. Rose Sparrow lifting her glorious voice above all.

I love catching up with the cousins and they were there in multiples. It was a chance to find out who has gotten married, had babies and extended the family, since we were together for Phil’s brother’s memorial service (Robert White Spencer). I will be one of the many who will greatly miss having lunch with Phil and hearing his stories. RIP, Phil

Footprints: Two Brothers – One Family – The Whites

My White Family history in two volumes landed on my doorstep today. Wahoo! What a yeomen’s effort of Joyce Hughes and Marsha Pilger. Joyce worked on this history until her death and then the burden fell on Marsha. She has done a fine job and it looks great. I’ll be spending the weekend in Charlottesville, VA watching Sam’s American U. soccer game and reading my books.

I helped Joyce with my part of the family. She had a good start, however I have kept track of a lot of the White cousins through hosting a White Family reunion a number of years. I was able to locate descendants of Alexander Right and Mary Ella (Hess) White’s children. I found someone in each of the married children’s families. The children of Alex and Mary Ella include: Nettie (never married); Bess White Hosler (Gilbert); Sara White Myers (Melvin); Mary White Spencer (Howard); Grace White Hooker (James); William Walter White (my grandfather) (Effie); Charles A. White (Louise); and Earle White (Margaret). We are scattered to the four corners of the US and some of the great, great grands are living abroad.

I thought the Whites had not moved out of Pennsylvania until I was researching Thomas White as a Revolutionary War patriot for DAR. Alas, this is not true. William White who married Hannah Milliken moved West and died in Pana, Illinois. Last year, Al and I were traveling Route 30 west and stopped in Pana to find where they are buried. This story you can read in a previous blog posting. Anyway, if anyone is so inclined to travel there, let me know.

Thanks to Marsha Pilger for finishing Joyce’s work and publishing this wonderful history of our family.

White Family Loses Three Cousins

May 23, 2021 cousin James William Roberts, 92, of Marysville, passed away at Claremont Nursing & Rehab Center, Carlisle, PA. Jim will be remembered by some as the caretaker, along with Harold Branyan, of the Gailey-White Cemetery in Cove, PA. He made sure there was a bridge across the creek so visitors could access the cemetery. He and Harold mowed the access path and maintained the cemetery for many years.

James William Roberts

Jim always had an interesting story or photo to share. I spent many hours in the cemetery, cleaning out poison ivy and filling groundhog holes with him. He turned the books over to me some years ago, but I could never keep it looking as good has Jim.

On July 22, 2021, another cousin, Sara Myers Johnson, 96, of Mechanicsburg, PA passed away. My best memory of Cousin Sara was the first Christmas I lived in Hershey, I had to work Christmas Day. Sara invited me to come for lunch with her family. My first Christmas that wasn’t in Snedekerville nor with Mom, Dad, Barb and Carol. Sara saved my holiday and I was able to get home later in the week.

Sara also introduced me to my California cousins. Mark Myers was coming for a visit from California. I knew we had Myers cousins, but had never met them. I am so glad I had that opportunity. Later, when I traveled for work, I visited Mark in New Orleans when he was working at the Audubon Zoo. He gave me a personal tour, that was truly unforgettable.

Sara Myers Johnson

The photo below is Mel Myers, Scott and Herb Johnson, Mark and Robb Myers at one of the family reunions.

On the 15th of January this year, Sara’s brother, Melvin also died. He was in Beechwood, NJ at the time and I have no further information about his death. I visited Mel and Dottie in Princeton NJ on a couple of occasions. He gave me the photo that I take to the White Reunions, of the children of Alexander and Mary Ella (Hess) White. It is such a treasure.

White Family Reunion July 23, 2016

Reservations are starting to arrive for the July 23rd White Family reunion.  If you know someone who isn’t on my mailing or emailing list, please share the information.  We would love to have as many of Alex and Mary Ella’s children represented as possible.

White Reunion Registration Form 2016

There is a block of rooms at the Comfort Inn Lancaster – Rockvale Outlets, 24 S. Willowdale Dr. in Lancaster.  You will need to request White Family Reunion rooms.  There may be some confusion since they were formerly Holiday Inn Express, but are now Comfort Inn Lancaster – Rockvale Outlets   877-859-5095 or 717-293-9500.

Also, we are using Perfect Potluck to sign up for what you are bringing.  Distance travelers, if you want to bring something easy like snack foods, let me know if you will need containers and I can provide those.

The group for Perfect Potluck is Hershey, password 1203.

Hope to see you there.