Lucy Ann Norman Spencer, 85, of Arlington, VA, originally of Waynesboro, TN, died peacefully on November 29, 2021.
She was the daughter of Mabel Pearson and Paul Norman, Sr., sister of Paul Norman, Jr. She was baptized, confirmed, and married in the Waynesboro Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and she was a direct descendant of the first minister and founder of the denomination in 1810. She was also a descendant of Lizzie Burns, who in the 1880s drove her own buggy five miles from her home to the Cumberland Presbyterian Church because she did not believe in the communion exclusion practiced by a church near her home. Lucy was also the granddaughter of a pioneer from Middle Tennessee to Texas, where her mother was raised.
Growing up in the beautiful, green rolling hills and clear-running creeks of Middle Tennessee gave Lucy a deep love of nature and a sense of refuge in the company of living things. She was a gardener who restored native plants and created a garden to sustain native wildlife. Lucy was also well known for her healthy practices, especially gardening and walking several miles most days. She loved walking along the creeks and streams in her Northern Virginia neighborhood and cherished day trips among the hills and mountains within a few hours’ drive from their home.
Charlie and Lucy joined the Foreign Service in 1966. In the late 1960s they lived in the Middle East, including Beirut, Lebanon; Cairo, Egypt; and Tunis, Tunisia. In a second posting in the early 1970s, they lived in Lima, Peru. After 1974, they made their home in Arlington, VA. She loved exploring new places and meeting new people.
Lucy was a seeker who read stacks of esoteric library books. She took art classes everywhere the family lived, and explored drawing, painting and many sculpture media throughout her life. In all she did, Lucy was an artist, keenly observing, contemplating, and responding to the world. Lucy was also a prolific and very gifted poet. She wrote alongside her visual art creations, and she passed her love for both art and writing to her daughters.
Lucy also saw a responsibility to right wrongs and make the world a more just place, focusing on environmental, LGBTQ, and immigrant causes. Her activism in later years centered on preserving trees in Arlington, preventing water pollution through reforming coal-mining practices in Appalachia and preventing the Keystone XL Pipeline, and supporting immigrant newcomers in the DC metro area.
Our worlds are diminished without her colorful physical presence, engaging ideas, energy, and creativity. We are thankful that her love, her words, and her artworks will accompany us in the days and years ahead.
Survivors include husband Charles Spencer, Jr., daughters Stephanie Spencer (Rev. Dr. Arlene Nehring) and Catherine (Kate) Spencer, sister-in-law Barbara Norman, and nephews David and Timothy Norman. She will be buried in the Norman family plot in Greenwood Cemetery on Friday, April 22, 2022, at 11:30 a.m.