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Vanessa Renee Spencer, 47, Upper Marlboro

Vanessa Renee Spencer, 47, of Upper Marlboro died of breast cancer Dec. 21, 2012, at Medstar Southern Maryland Hospital Center, Clinton.

Born April 5, 1965, in Washington, D.C., she was the daughter of the late Thomas F. and Gloria J. Herring.

At an early age, she was baptized at Maple Springs Baptist Church in Suitland. Later she joined Greater New Hope Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. She found her permanent church home more than 10 years ago at First Baptist Church of Glenarden. She loved her church and was a member of the senior ushers ministry.

She graduated from Suitland High School in 1983. After graduation, she went to work for the U.S. Secret Service. She retired in June 2012. She had a very successful career with the Secret Service starting as a clerk and working her way up to supervisory telecommunications specialist. She loved her job and co-workers, especially her supervisor, Joe Harris, who was very supportive and nurtured her career. Her job required her to travel all over the United States and to Canada, Puerto Rico and Greece. As her health began to fail, she no longer had the energy to perform all of the requirements of the job; however, she continued to go into the office but was no longer required to travel.

While working for the Secret Service, she met Charles R. “Chuck” Spencer Jr. They were married Aug. 15, 1987. They had two children. Through the years, they remained friends and supported his children as they dealt with their mother’s illness.

In 1997, she was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 31.

She encouraged others even as she suffered through her illness.

She enjoyed spending time with her family and friends. She took pride in her home and looked forward to times when she could show off something new during a family gathering. She was fond of her cat, Ollie.

In addition to her father, she was preceded in death by her sister, Rhonda R. Barnes; and brother, Timothy A. Alexander.

She is survived by her mother and stepfather, Gloria and Thomas McColl; children, Shaye Spencer and her husband John, Jeffry Spencer and his wife Erin and Charles Spencer III; grandchild, Juanita Clark; brother, Marcus Cradle and his wife Jamie; sisters, Tia Harris, Terri McColl and Tamika Diggs; goddaughter, Janae Alexander; aunt, Venita Clark; uncles, James Clark and his wife Josie, Clyde Herring and his wife Ethel, James Herring and Walter Herring; former husband, Charles Spencer Jr. and his wife Jacie; mother-in-law, Doris Spencer; sister-in-law, Patricia Favreau and her husband Mark; and many other relatives.

A service was held Jan. 3 at First Baptist Church of Glenarden, Landover. Burial took place at Resurrection Cemetery, Clinton.

Arrangements were handled by Briscoe-Tonic Funeral Home, Waldorf.