Elizabeth Humphris Spencer died peacefully at her mountain home in Rockbridge County on June 21, 2020, after a battle with cancer. She was 87 years old.

A native of East Lexington, Betty (“Liz” to some) grew up the third child and only daughter of Margaret E. and Curtis C. Humphris Sr. They made their home on the banks of the Maury River across the street from the W.R. Humphris & Son general store.

Betty was born, grew up, married and lived most of her life in Rockbridge County. She attended Lexington High School and studied fine art at Richmond Polytechnical Institute (now VCU). Later, while working in the art department at Washington and Lee University, she met Ed Spencer, a young geology professor from Arkansas, and they wed in 1958. Together they produced

Together they produced and raised two daughters, Shawn and Shannon. Betty relished their many academic sojourns around the world but she also cherished being at home surrounded by nature, her various art projects, books and friends. There she delved extensively into the world of alternative healing therapies and enjoyed time with her family, including her beloved grandsons, Tucker and Jonah.

For decades Betty was known as a talented landscape painter, but her artistic abilities also flowed into beautiful, detailed illustrations for several of Ed’s geology textbooks, elegant Modernist silver jewelry, intricate ball gowns and theatrical costumes, and all manner of inventive ornaments, toys, and decorations. She also taught art as a volunteer at Central Elementary School in the 1970s, when there was no budget for the arts and was a founding member of the local artists cooperative Artists in Cahoots. She loved to build things and had a special knack for clever practical solutions.

She threw wonderful parties and, with Ed, entertained countless W&L geology majors and alumni in their home. In the latter half of her life she became increasingly focused on helping others and always found time to have people out to “play” in the sand tray, explore Mari cards, learn EFT (tapping), do energy work, and most recently, create beautiful and enigmatic “Soul Collages.”

She was gentle and generous, kind and caring, insightful and wise yet humble – always with a humorous aside, always beautiful inside and out. She did the best thing that any of us can hope to do: she left the world a better place than she found it.

Betty is survived by her daughters, Shawn Spencer and her husband Steven Levine, and Shannon Spencer and her husband Richard Wallace; and two grandsons, Tucker and Jonah Spencer-Wallace. She is also survived by brother Curtis Humphris Jr. and his wife Caroline, and nieces and nephews Margaret Ann Humphris (Jim Shaver), David Duke Humphris (Alison), Patsy Humphris Ledford (Joel), and Robert R. Humphris Jr. She also leaves behind Sarah, Alice, Karen, Matthew, Mary Ann and Susan Spencer, and Rebecca Spencer Schulz (Chris) and their children Lily and Zack.

In addition to family, Betty leaves behind many dear and devoted friends. She is predeceased by her husband of 61 years, Edgar W. Spencer; brother Robert R. Humphris and his wife Charlotte; her nephew Curtis C. Humphris III; and grandniece Hannah Humphris.

The Spencer family gives its most sincere and heartfelt thanks to the wonderful people at Rockbridge Area Hospice. The depth of our gratitude for their superb support during this difficult time knows no bounds.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Rockbridge Area Hospice or Project Horizon. Rockbridge Area Hospice: 315 Myers St., Lexington, VA 24450,,; Project Horizon: 120 Varner Lane, Lexington, VA 24450, N-G

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