November 20, 1916 ~ March 17, 2014
A grande dame has left the mountains around Ouray to go to a more splendid landscape. Barbara Spencer passed away on Mar. the 17, 2014 at the Sunrise Creek facility in Montrose, Colorado. She was born November 20, 1916 in Rico, Colorado, where her mother was also born. Her family are all long time Colorado residents - her grandfather Hill is buried in the old Rico cemetery. Barbara came to Ouray when she was 5, where her father ran the American Nettie Mine high above Ouray and became one of Ouray’s county commissioners and also was selected to be a State commissioner. Roger Henn, another well-known Ouray resident, went to her sixth birthday party. After graduating from Ouray High school she went to Bringham Young University and then to Colorado College. After graduating, Barbara decided to enter the field of "higher Education" as she put it, and started teaching in the one room schoolhouse at the Camp Bird Mine at over 10,000 foot elevation. She also taught in Montrose and Salida. In 1940 she married Donald M. Spencer in Moab, Utah. Donald was a miner, prospector and an editor whose parents owned the Ouray County Herald, now known as Ouray’s paper the Plaindealer. They moved to Oak Creek where they ran the local paper, then back in Ouray. She learned the newspaper business writing articles and running the presses. After a year as county school superintendent, she went to work for 26 years at the Post Office eventually becoming Postmaster when her Postmaster mother Minnie McCullough retired. She is survived by her five childred – Meredith Sue Woodley, Mac, Mary Cockle, Martha Jamie DeFreval and Mark as well as by 7 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren. Her husband Don leased the Bachelor Syracuse mine and later worked at the Camp Bird and the Idarado mines . Barbara was involved in the social life of Ouray, a member of the Women's Club, an Elder at what is now the Ouray Christian fellowship and was deeply involved in social work. She wrote many articles for the paper eventually ending with a weekly column in the Plaindealer called the Ouray Nuggets which informed the citizens of Ouray of what was going on with the local people, their health, travel, families, etc. She stopped when she said that she might be getting things confused and “I am afraid that I might report tht some young girl was being married to her Grandfather.” She travelled to France, Switzerland, Ireland England and Germany. Her husband Don passed away in 1985. She remained in Ouray in her Victorian home, full of memorabilia as in a museum. Her abundant library showed the multiple interests she had. But she was an invaluable resource about Ouray as was her old friend Roger Henn, about the mines and other history around Ouray. She is mentioned in a number of the Ouray history books. She loved her mountains and just wanted, as she liked to say, to "pull these mountains around my shoulders and sit here in comfort.” Barbara was well known for her quick wit and her positive outlook on life, and small children were always drawn to her. She always looked for and found the good side of people, charitable, always with her door opened to all strangers to whom she offered hospitality, always generous, she was a giver and never asked anything in return. A woman of integrity, deeply religious there was a grace about her which made it easy for people to respect and love her. Indeed a great lady has left us to join her beloved husband and be with the Lord, but we remember the example she has left for us. The memorial service will be held at the Ouray Christian Fellowship Church at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, Mar. 22. Flowers or donations may be sent to the Ouray Christian Fellowship Church.