Fern Anne Spencer, 77, of Columbia died Saturday, July 18, 2020, at University Hospital. She was born May 25, 1943, in Sioux City, Iowa, the daughter of Clarence Edward Spencer and Anna Mae (Lewis) Spencer.
Fern graduated from Central High School in Sioux City in 1961. She earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and English with a minor in music from Morningside College in Sioux City in 1965 and a master’s degree in education (special education) from MU in 1986.
Fern taught second and third grade at Gehlen Elementary, a Catholic school in Le Mars, Iowa, from 1968-74. She worked as a senior secretary to the political sciences graduate studies director at MU. Fern typed and edited papers and books for many professors, for which she was very proud. She left this position in 1986 to teach special education for Fulton Public Schools for two years. Fern finished her teaching career as a special education teacher at Hickman High School, where she taught and was a proud Kewpie for 19 years and retired in 2007. She enjoyed teaching many classes at Hickman, but her favorite was music appreciation.
Fern Spencer and Roger Gadbois married in 1965 and had five children. Fern is survived by her daughter, Michelle Gadbois (Tracy Garland); and sons, Todd Gadbois, Dr. Tony Gadbois (Dr. Mary Gadbois), Jason Gadbois and Steven Gadbois (Laura). Fern is also survived by her grandchildren, (Todd) Spencer, 19; Sean, 17; Seth, 16; (Tony) Dr. Adam, 23; Katie, 19; Trent, 18; Sarah, 14; Zac, 10; (Jason) Andrew, 14; (Steven) Lisa, 21; Adrian, 20; Nikko, 13 months; and Noah, 16. Fern is also survived by her sister, Claudia Umland (Tom), and Claudia’s children, Rodney, Shane and Jay, all living in Nebraska.
Fern was a devoted Missouri Tigers football and basketball fan dating back to the mid-1970s and a lifelong Dodgers fan.
Her most delightful times were spent during several trips abroad with her children in Europe; many visits to Vatican City, which included an appearance with Pope Benedict XVI; visiting her sister, Claudia, in China; visiting her son Todd in Wisconsin; and a hot air balloon ride. She delighted in front-row seats at a Dodgers game. Most recently, she enjoyed spending time at happy hours with her friends at Gentry Estates. Most of all, Fern enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren, playing cribbage, coloring Easter eggs and sharing stories with them. She loved bragging about her children, watching soap operas and “Survivor” and going to the casino. She never missed her Tuesday hair appointment with Terry in over 25 years.
A graveside service will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, July 22, 2020, in Memorial Park Cemetery (masks are required).
If you are unable to attend the service, it will be livestreamed on the Memorial Funeral Home, Crematory & Memorial Park Cemetery/Columbia Facebook page. Please refer to memorialfuneralhomecolumbia.com for a link and to leave condolences.