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In Memoriam — Brenda Hensley Spencer

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Brenda Hensley Spencer, professor emeritus of elementary and bilingual education, died on Jan. 4 at her home in Savannah, Georgia, surrounded by her family. She was 75.

Spencer was selected as the College of Education’s Distinguished Faculty Marshal in 2008, the year she retired, for her significant contributions to students, the university and her field.

Spencer joined Cal State Fullerton in 1990, and throughout her career, she earned awards in the areas of teaching, scholarship and service. She taught reading and language arts methods and learning theory courses in the credential program for elementary school teachers, and graduate courses in reading education and elementary curriculum and instruction.

She was an active scholar and was published in numerous education journals, participated in successful state and national accreditation visits, and her expertise in the area of reading was recognized at state and national levels. After she retired, Spencer continued to support CSUF students, guiding many education doctoral candidates through the editing process of their dissertations.

Spencer earned her bachelor’s degree from Appalachian State University, and a master’s degree in teaching and doctorate from Oakland University. She is survived by her spouse of 53 years, Jay Spencer, Jr.; son Jay Spencer III; daughter Jennifer Spencer Rivera and son-in-law David Rivera. Also, two sisters, Jacqueline Hensley Edwards, and Frances Hensley and her spouse Jim Okey. A private service was held at her request.

Contributions may be made in her memory to the Mayo Clinic at; or Hospice Savannah at