Carolyn Jean Spencer
Carolyn Jean Spencer
  • January 15, 1949 - June 11, 2017
  • Pekin, Illinois

Share This Obituary

Carolyn Jean Spencer, 68, of Pekin, formerly of Roodhouse, Ill., died at 4 a.m. Sunday, June 11, 2017, in the Pekin Hospital emergency room after suffering a heart attack around 2:30 a.m. at her home in Court Place Apartments. She had been in poor health for some time.

Carolyn was born Jan. 15, 1949, at Passavant Hospital in Jacksonville, Ill., the youngest child of Carl Spencer Riggs Sr. by his third wife Fannie Pauline (Johnson) Riggs. She married Roy Eldon Spencer on May 22, 1971, in Nevada, Iowa, and had two daughters. Carolyn and Roy divorced in 2003.

She is survived by her daughters, Christina (Jared) Olar of Pekin and Gina Louise (Steve) Zavala of Waterford, Wis.; nine grandchildren, Alexander Olar, Julia Olar, Joseph Olar, Elizabeth Olar, Stephen Olar, Anna Olar, Michael Olar, and Sophia Olar, all of Pekin, and Micah Zavala of Waterford; one sister, Alleane (Byron) Buchanan of South Jacksonville, Ill.; and a very large number of nieces, nephews, and cousins belonging to the Florence, Riggs, Johnson, Million, Stansfield, and Mutch branches of her family.

She was preceded in death by one sister, Pauline Ellen (Riggs) Pate; two brothers, Wilbert Clarke "Bud" Riggs and Carl Spencer Riggs Jr.; two grandchildren, Lael Zavala and T.S. Olar; and a niece, Maxine (Riggs) Bauter Quintero Munoz, daughter of her beloved brother Bud.

As a baby, Carolyn lived on the farm in rural Manchester, Ill., where her brother Junior and sister-in-law Joey later lived. When she was 3 years old, the family moved to Alsey, Ill., where she grew up. She lived across the street from Alsey Elementary School. Carolyn was a member of the Class of 1968 at Winchester Community High School, Winchester, Ill.

After high school, she lived for a while with her Grandma Johnson at the farm where her Uncle Ed and Aunt Bev Johnson now live. She then moved to St. Louis, Mo., where she worked as an aide in a nursing home and as a waitress. She met her future husband Roy in the autumn of 1970 at a church singles' dance in St. Louis. Roy had driven down from his home in Des Moines, Iowa, to attend the dance. Carolyn said when they danced together that night, it felt like her feet floated over the floor.

After their marriage, Roy and Carolyn lived in Des Moines, where their daughters were born. They moved to Modale, Iowa, in the summer of 1976, then to Roodhouse, Ill., on July 17, 1983. Carolyn lived in Roodhouse until Oct. 2010, when she came to Pekin to live with her daughter Christina for a while as she convalesced after heart valve surgery. She moved to the Mel Hasty Retirement Center in East Peoria, Ill., in March 2011, then to Court Place Apartments in Pekin in March 2014. She made friends very easily wherever she went.

Carolyn was a Christian, attending Alsey Baptist Church and several other denominations as a child, later joining the Worldwide Church of God in the late 1960s, and occasionally attending various churches in the last several years of her life.

Carolyn liked collecting angel figurines, Norman Rockwell plates and cups, and Thomas Kinkade pictures. She loved wearing jewelry and nice clothes, and had a purse for every occasion and almost every outfit. She enjoyed reading, doing word search puzzles, and watching t.v. and movies, and loved cats. Always patriotic, she was honored to learn that her Riggs family had lived in North America since 1633 and that she was descended from Pequot War hero Sgt. Edward Riggs and Revolutionary War veteran Pvt. Daniel Riggs whose discharge papers were signed in 1783 by Gen. George Washington.

But her greatest love and joy in her life came from being a grandmother, and her grandchildren will miss her very much.

Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Monday, June 19, 2017, at Davison-Fulton Woolsey Funeral Home in Pekin. Visitation will be one hour prior to the services at the funeral home.

Graveside services will be Monday following the services at 2 p.m. in Murrayville Cemetery, Murrayville, Ill. After the graveside services a light meal will be served in Roodhouse.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to an educational trust fund to be set up for Carolyn's grandchildren.

You may view Carolyn's obituary at