Friday, May 25, 2018
News Roundup

World was open to Sally Spencer, and she was open to world

BELLEAIR — Sally Spencer traveled to the world's most glamorous places.

She slept in plush hotels in Maui and Venice. She took her grandchildren on a cruise to Barcelona, Monaco and Rome. She spent every summer vacationing in the south of France.

But luxury is only intriguing for so long.

One year, she became bored by the decadence in France. She hopped a plane and landed in a new location.

Siberia.

• • •

The tug to explore started early.

After two years studying fashion design in college, she felt unfulfilled. She switched to nursing and dove into literature, reading The Fountainhead over and over.

She worked as an emergency room nurse in Fort Lauderdale. She sacrificed a nursing job at the 1960 Winter Olympics in Lake Tahoe. Instead, she stayed home and married James Spencer.

The couple had two sons, Stephen and Scott. They brought injured animals home, and she fixed them. When Scott came through the front door with a skateboard and a broken arm once, she jumped up.

"I about fainted," said Mr. Spencer, 75. "She went right into action."

In the 1960s, waves of Cuban refugees came ashore in South Florida. Mrs. Spencer volunteered to help the local medical team three days a week for a year.

The experience stirred her.

"She went places that other people would probably hesitate to go," said her friend Margaret Word Burnside. "She was just so fascinated by any kind of exploration."

She did medical research in Siberia, Mongolia and China. She volunteered in Kenya and cared for children in Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan. She went into Borneo's rain forests to study orangutans in 1985.

She took the wheel of a Volks­wagen camper on stateside family trips. Mrs. Spencer liked to pop tents in the middle of nowhere. Her husband, an investment manager, preferred four walls and a bed. She'd spend a few nights at motels to appease him.

She traveled with her grandchildren as soon as they turned 7. She wanted them to be mature enough. They went to Alaska, the Galapagos Islands, China, the Amazon Rover, London, Paris, Costa Rica, Egypt and Kenya.

A couple of years ago, Burnside received a letter from her friend. It contained a photograph of Mrs. Spencer, smiling and surrounded by tribal people. It looked like something out of National Geographic.

But Mrs. Spencer was merely celebrating her 70th birthday.

In New Guinea.

• • •

Back home in Belleair, she served on charitable boards and art foundations. She worked with the parks department to help plant 100 trees in her community. She went to fundraisers and socialized with a close group of friends.

She didn't like to sit mindlessly at expensive lunches.

"She was a very quiet person," her husband said. "She would rather be puttering around the yard or taking care of the grandchildren. She was very different from most of the people I know."

In October, doctors found a tumor on her shoulder. Later, they found more in her body. She spent her last days in a hospice room. Her husband suggested she come home, but she wanted to stay. She was a nurse, and she knew best.

Mrs. Spencer died Wednesday. She was 72.

Stephanie Hayes can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8857.

Comments
Calvary Christian’s record win streak ends in state final

Calvary Christian’s record win streak ends in state final

FORT MYERS — One of the most impressive streaks in high school baseball came to an end early Friday morning.Calvary Christian lost the Class 4A state championship 5-1 to Fort Lauderdale Calvary Christian at Hammond Stadium in a game that ended ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Behind the deal: $52 million boutique hotel coming to Ybor City started with cafe con leche at La Tropicana Cafe

Behind the deal: $52 million boutique hotel coming to Ybor City started with cafe con leche at La Tropicana Cafe

TAMPA — Joe Capitano Sr. invested in the 1400 block of E Seventh Avenue in 1985, never doubting the huge potential of the property for Ybor City.But the deal to build a $52 million boutique hotel on the site didn’t start to come together until six ye...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Rays journal: Blake Snell, flying Denard Span finally solve Red Sox

Rays journal: Blake Snell, flying Denard Span finally solve Red Sox

ST. PETERSBURG — Having lost two straight and nine of 12 times overall to the Red Sox, the Rays needed two things to go right Thursday:First, a strong start from Blake Snell.Second, some early runs against Rick Porcello from an offense that had...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Thursday’s Rays-Red Sox game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Thursday’s Rays-Red Sox game

Home cooking clearly agrees with OF Denard Span. The 34-year-old Tampa product continues to deliver, producing at the plate, running the bases, making diving catches in the outfield, and Thursday, even going over the short sidewall twice in hot pursu...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Bucs’ Ali Marpet: NFL flip-flopping on anthem policy ‘a little bit odd’

Bucs’ Ali Marpet: NFL flip-flopping on anthem policy ‘a little bit odd’

TAMPA — This much is clear: The National Football League is focused on getting rid of kneeling players.That was the league's announcement Wednesday in requiring players to stand during the national anthem before games or possibly have their tea...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Rays once again will ‘open’ with relievers this weekend

Rays once again will ‘open’ with relievers this weekend

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays weren't kidding about being serious that starting relievers gives them the best chance to win.So much so, they plan to do so again this weekend against the Orioles — in all three games. The plan is for Sergio Rom...
Updated: 4 hours ago
When will the Lightning run out of wait-til-next-years?

When will the Lightning run out of wait-til-next-years?

TAMPA — Disbelief will eventually give way to acceptance.The Lightning isn't there yet.It isn't there yet in a lot of ways.Will it ever be?Just wondering.Really, what guarantees are there?Late Wednesday, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechki...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Deputies: Hours after birth, newborn abandoned in north Tampa

Deputies: Hours after birth, newborn abandoned in north Tampa

TAMPA — An abandoned a newborn baby was found in the University area on Thursday, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.A passerby found the baby boy wrapped in a red towel near the intersection of N 18th Street and E 143rd Avenue at ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Driver killed after colliding with dump truck in south Hillsborough

Driver killed after colliding with dump truck in south Hillsborough

WIMAUMA — A 30-year-old man died on Thursday after his sedan crashed head-on into a dump truck, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.The crash took place at about 6 p.m. on U.S. 301 near Lightfood Road.Gerardo Yslas of Immokalee was driving a 2012...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Lottery resultsNumbers drawn after 9 p.m. are no longer available by our deadlines. For results, please go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Thurs., May 24, midday:173952098e_SRit83991Thurs., May 24, evening:146065414e_SRit29962Mega MillionsToda...
Updated: 6 hours ago