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Anne Felton Spencer SOUTH BURLINGTON — Anne Felton Spencer, 94, died peacefully and in the presence of her family on Nov. 15, 2019, in South Burlington. Nancy, as she was known to her friends and community, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on Oct. 20, 1925, the only child of Samuel Morse and Anne (Nelson) Felton. She was raised in Boston and attended Milton Academy. Both of her parents were competitive athletes, so she spent her childhood engaged in similar pursuits, riding horses with her mother on the Fenway or swimming in the frigid Atlantic waters at just about any time of year. During WWII, Nancy volunteered at Boston City Hospital, tending the war-injured. In 1943, the Felton family moved to Vermont, first to Spring Lake Ranch and then to Rutland Farms (the present site of the Holiday Inn). Nancy married John McCulloch Spencer of Troy, Ohio, in 1946. The couple renovated the Barney farm at the bottom of Spring Lake Ranch Road in Cuttingsville, and it became home to their five children. An insatiable reader, Nancy was also a collector of books, maps and all things Vermont. In 1989, she sponsored and helped curate the Fleming Museum exhibition “Faces in the Parlor: eighteenth- and nineteenth-century portraits from Vermont collections.” Nancy had a knack and passion for research, and she became a fixture at the UVM Special Collections and Vermont Historical Society reading rooms. Her findings contributed to numerous scholarly works and exhibitions and also to Shrewsbury, Vermont: Our Town as it Was. In 2015, the Shrewsbury Historical Society dedicated its museum to her. Nancy was dedicated to and active in civil and human rights efforts and in August 1963, she went to Washington, DC, part of a crowd of 300,000 who had joined Dr. Martin Luther King’s March for Jobs and Civil Rights, the occasion for his historic “I have a dream” speech. Nancy was an original citizen scientist. For decades and almost daily, she monitored bird activity from her kitchen window and submitted that data to the Laboratory of Ornithology at Cornell. She was an early supporter of the Vermont Institute of Natural Science and ELF, a program that fostered a love of nature and environmental awareness in elementary school children. Nancy’s conservation and preservation efforts included eliminating the use of gas-powered motors on Spring Lake. During the 70+ years that she lived in Shrewsbury, Nancy promoted love of reading, music and nature in the schools, she sang in the Community Church choir and helped establish the town Historical Society and library. She also served on the Meeting House and numerous other Shrewsbury committees, and she promoted numerous conservation efforts. Within the county, Nancy supported Dismas House, The Humane Society and Rutland County Women’s Network, where she also volunteered. Nancy was predeceased by her husband, Jack; son John Mitchell (“Mitch”); and granddaughter Samantha. She is survived by her children Deirdre Erb, Stephanie Spencer, Luisa Finberg and Samuel Spencer, as well as their spouses, children and grandchildren. Despite a lifetime of community involvement, Nancy most enjoyed the tranquility and solitude of her home, where she gardened, read, bird-watched and relished the companionship of her dogs. Our family wishes to thank the numerous individuals who made it possible for Nancy to live independently in her home until 2018.

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