Merle Spencer


Merle Spencer
Feb. 8, 1916 - Nov. 11, 2011

Merle Spencer passed away Nov. 11, 2011, at the Milton Freewater Health and Rehab Center at the age of 95.

The funeral service will be Saturday, Nov. 19, at 2 p.m. at the Munselle-Rhodes Funeral Home with Pastor Ole Olesen officiating. Private interment will be in the Mt. Hope Cemetery in Rockford, Wash. Memorial contributions may be made to the Milton SDA Church Worthy Student Fund through the Munselle-Rhodes Funeral Home, 902 S. Main, Milton-Freewater, OR 97862.

Merle was born Feb. 8, 1916, in Burr Oak County, Brownville, Iowa, to Glenn and Pearl (Gosselin) Counsell. She graduated from Oak Park Academy in Nevada, Iowa, along with her younger sister, Clarice, in 1934. After graduation they moved to Chicago, where she worked until entering nursing school in 1935. She received her nursing degree from Hinsdale Sanitarium and Hospital in 1939. She worked there until the winter of 1942 when she and a friend moved to Walla Walla. She took special training to help those who contracted polio during the epidemic. She was able to help many people with treatment and rehabilitation and many were able to walk and function again. The majority of her nursing career was spent doing private duty nursing. She also cared for family and friends when the need arose.

On Nov. 8, 1953, she and Herbert Spencer married in Milton Freewater. They lived on the Walker ranch on Lincton Mountain Road, where they were involved in the activities of the ranch mainly cattle and horses. They also owned land up in the mountains where they built a cabin and spent many happy summers there. They stayed on the ranch until 2003 when due to failing health they moved to Evergreen Assisted Living. Herbert passed away on March 13, 2004. Even though they didn't have any children, their home was "home" to many young men who stayed with them and helped on the ranch. She lovingly referred to them as "The Boys." She also enjoyed spending time with her nieces and nephews. Merle was a good cook and there was always plenty to eat. For many years they invited friends and family to the cabin for the Fourth of July.

Merle was baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church in 1931. She was a member of the Milton Seventh-day Church, where she was involved in its Community Service Center. She also enjoyed going to several women's clubs. Merle enjoyed gardening, knitting and embroidery.

She is survived by her sister, Clarice Nelson, Clear Lake, Wis.; sister-in-law, Helen Counsell, Charlottesville, Va.; nephews and nieces, LaVerne Nelson and Connie Serl of College Place, Wesley Nelson and Alice Garrett of Clear Lake, Wis., Janelle Millhouse of Lincoln, Neb., Barbara Schultz of Garden Valley, Idaho, and Ryan Counsell of Battle Creek, Mich.; and many friends. Besides her husband, Merle, she was preceded in death by her parents; two brothers, Wendell and Charles Counsell; niece and nephew, Darlene and Rodney Counsell.


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