Carnations 6
Official Obituary of

Hortense Russell Spence

June 15, 1932 ~ March 24, 2024 (age 91) 91 Years Old

Hortense Spence Obituary


Hortense Celestine Russell Spence was the sixth of ten children born to the late Roland E. Russell, Sr. and Grace P. Russell, in Princess Anne County, VA, now Virginia Beach. She completed her public school education in her native land, and graduated Princess Anne County Training School (PACTS) Class of 1949. Hortense entered Virginia State College, now University, in September of 1949, graduating in May 1953; with a B.S. degree in Elementary Education and a minor in English. She began her teaching career in Sept. 1953 at Union Kempsville Elementary School in the city of Virginia Beach and later transferred to PACTS as the School System grew.

Hortense married her high school sweetheart, the late Nehemiah E. Spence, Jr.“Sunny” on August 29, 1954.  Their matrimony produced three loving children, Nehemiah E. Spence, III, Cynthia C. Spence, and Glen A. Spence, who were very attentive to her needs.  

Hortense was a teacher for the city of Virginia Beach. While teaching, Mrs. Spence served as cooperating/supervising teacher for her student teachers from Virginia Wesleyan, Old Dominion, and Norfolk State Universities. As a first-grade teacher, she enjoyed giving her students a start in life; for which she received many commendations from the parents. She taught for 35 ½ years for the city of Virginia Beach, one year for Chesapeake and was awarded the Teacher of the Year Award in 1991.

In the community, Mrs. Spence volunteered for the Judicial court as a Secretarial Recorder. She also participated in neighborhood campaigns for the American Cancer Fund, Heart Fund and Salvation Army. She read and sang to the patients at Sentara Leigh Hospital. To broaden her horizons, Hortense joined the Norfolk Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., a public service organization and served as their Chaplain for several years.

Hortense was a lifetime member of St. John’s A.M.E. Church in Norfolk, where she served as an Usher, President of the Stewardess Board for thirty years and a Vacation Bible School Teacher. Her motto was “If I can help somebody along the way, then my living will not be in vain.” Her favorite scriptures were Psalm 27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life of whom shall I be afraid? and Psalm 27:14 Wait on the Lord and be of good courage and he shall strengthen thine heart. Wait, I say on the Lord.

Cherished memories will remain in the hearts of her three devoted and loving children, Nehemiah E. Spence, III (Gerral), Cynthia Spence-Garnett, Glen A. Spence (Shelley); nine precious grandchildren, Ria, Nehemiah IV (Jameka), and Jared F. Spence; Kai J., Gilead A. (Ann), Samuel M. (Hope), Naomi M. and Nathaniel M. Spence; Terrance DeLoatch; goddaughter, Edith Gregory; thirteen great grandchildren, Justin and Jalen Saunders, Michael, Kaiden, Mekenzie and Kalea Dancy, Eleazar, Amos, Joy and Dante Spence, Devin, Nehemiah V “Cinco” and Jonah Spence and one great-great granddaughter, Divinity Spence; sister, Grace R. Ponton (Ernest); sister-in-law, AlnathaRussell, and a host of nieces, nephews, special cousins, other relatives and friends.

My Bequests

To my heartstrings, my three children, Nehemiah III, Cynthia, and Glen, I leave thankfulness and

a mother’s profound love and prayer, that God will aways keep you in his care.

To my priceless gems, my pride and joy, my grandchildren, I leave lots of hugs, kisses and a bushel and a peck of love, Flying from a Heavenly dove. Also, my constant prayer is that God will guide your footsteps day by day;

And grant you happiness and success along the way.

To my dear sister, nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives, and friends, I leave peace, joy, brotherly love,

special memories and goodwill. Until we all gather on that Eternal, Heavenly Hill.

Lastly, to St. John’s A.M.E. Church, the church of my birth, God’s kingdom on earth, I leave my prayers,

service, tithes, offerings, joy, and pride in knowing that faithful followers in you will always abide.


Prayerfully, A Servant of God

~Hortence R. Spence

 Service Program

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March 31, 2024

5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Beach Funeral & Cremation Services
4456 Bonney Road
Va Beach, VA 23462

Celebration of Life
April 1, 2024

11:00 AM
New Hope Baptist Church
395 Old Great Neck Road
Virginia Beach, VA 23454

April 1, 2024

2:00 PM
Woodlawn Memorial Gardens
6309 Virginia Beach Blvd
Norfolk, VA 23502


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