Savannah Community Celebrates The Life Of Mrs. Lillian Brown Johnson Spencer


Mrs. Lillian Brown Johnson Spencer was born on July 18, 1925 in Beaufort, South Carolina and raised in Savannah from the age of three months. She was the daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Paul L. Brown. She attended the Paulsen Street and Cuyler Schools and was baptized into the Christian faith on May 5, 1935 at Central Missionary Baptist Church, under the leadership of the late Rev. J.R. Woods.

Musically gifted, Mrs. Spencer had an amazing soprano voice and at an early age she began singing in the church choir, the chorus of the Sidney A. Jones Funeral Home, and with the Simmons Singers Ensemble. Mrs. Spencer married the late Mr. Otis S Johnson, Sr. and spent her early years teaching African-American children in the rural areas of Coosawhatchie and Pocatalico, South Carolina.

Following the untimely death of Mr. Johnson, she later married the late Rev. John Herbert Spencer, Sr. of Tuscaloosa, Alabama and relocated there in 1947. She furthered her education in Alabama, receiving a Bachelors Degree in Mathematics from Stillman College and a Masters Degree in Mathematics from the University of Alabama..

Mrs. Spencer taught math in the Tus- caloosa City School System at Druid High School and Westlawn Junior High School for fourteen years. She returned to Savannah in 1975 and continued her teaching career with the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System, retiring from Bartlett Middle School in 1989.

Deeply committed to the Christian faith, Mrs. Spencer worked tirelessly throughout her life in various capacities of service in the Missionary Baptist Church, both in Alabama and Georgia. Mrs. Spencer served as a Sunday School teacher and as a director and musician of the Gospel Chorus at Morning Star Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa, under the pastorate of her late husband , Rev. Spencer.

Upon returning to Savannah, she reunited with Central Missionary Baptist Church, which was led at that time by her beloved childhood pastor, the late Rev. William Daniels. She soon renewed her involvement with her home church, serving as a musician, a member of the Missionary Society, Sunday Schoolteacher, member of the Senior Choir and the Lillian Brown Scholarship Committee, named in memory of her mother.

For many years she prepared the weekly church bulletin. As an accomplished pianist and organist, she often sang at funerals with the Speed and Adams Funeral Home Chorus.

Mrs. Spencer was an active worker in the Berean Missionary Baptist Association, serving as both a Special Assistant to the President of the Women’s Auxiliary and Financial Secretary. She was a gifted orator and a sought- after speaker for a variety of faith – based services and events.

Mrs, Lillian Brown Johnson Spencer passed away peacefully on December 22, 2015 a the home of her daughter. Lillian Flournoy in Jonesboro, Georgia.

She is predeceased by a grandson, John Herbert Spencer, III. Her memory and legacy are celebrated by eight children: Dr. Otis S. Johnson, Jr., former Mayor of the City of Savannah, Mr. Paul L. Johnson (Angelyne), Savannah, Ga, Rev. Dr. John H. Spencer, Jr. (Debra), Englewood, NJ, Dr. Marjorie Spencer Campbell (Willie F.), Huntsville, Al. Lillian Spencer Flournoy, Esq. (Ronald), Atlanta, Ga. Mrs. Jannis Spencer Glover, Savannah, Ga, Dr. Faye Spencer Maor, Greensboro, NC, and Rev. Simeon Spencer ( Glynis), Florence, NJ, 13 grandchildren, 8 great-grandchildren, one adopted daughter, Shevon Carr, Savannah, Ga and a host of relatives and friends.

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” Psalms 116:15

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