Miriam Jolley Spencer, 96 ¾ of Harrisville and Quonochontaug, RI, passed away on October 20, 2018 at the Village at Waterman Lake. She was the wife of the late Albert E. Spencer, Sr.
Born on January 18, 1922 in Ashaway, RI to Charles W. & Miriam (Tinkham) Jolley. She was the granddaughter of Ernest W. Tinkham, owner of the Tinkham Mill in Harrisville.
She lived in Harrisville most of her life. She graduated as class valedictorian from Burrillville High School. She attended Browne University (Pembroke College) and was a member of the class of 1944, graduating with a degree in chemistry. During World War II, she went to work for Union Carbide as a chemist in Oak Ridge, TN. In Oak Ridge, she worked on the Manhattan Project and aided in the development of the atomic bomb. She worked on the development of what is known as “heavy water”. During that time, she learned to read scientific German. She was one of the girls of atomic city.
She then continued her education at Wellesley College. She traveled extensively. She returned to Harrisville, married Albert and raised her family. She loved her family, friends, faith, reading, knitting and, for 96 years, her time at Quonnie with her friends.
She was a life-long member of Berean Baptist Church and a member of the 3B’s. In summer, she attended the First Baptist Church of Charlestown. She was a member of the RI Society of Mayflower descendants and a descendent of Peter Brown. She was also a member of the Steere Family Association and the Burrillville Historical Society. She enjoyed researching her family history.
She is survived by her daughter and caregiver, Margaret Spencer Egan, and her husband, Dennis, of North Scituate, RI, and her son, Albert E. Spencer Jr, and his wife, Holly, of Harrisville, RI, and her daughter, Louise Spencer Steele, and her husband, Jay R. Steele, of La Verne, CA. She was the loving grandmother of Emily Egan, Nicole Spencer, Peter Spencer, Samantha Spencer, Jessica Neil, Charles Lopez, and great granddaughters, Shyla Contreras and Orchid Neil. She was predeceased by her sister, Violette Jolley, and her brother, Ernest T. Jolley.
Her funeral will be held Wenesday at 9am from the Brown Funeral Home, 1496 Victory Hwy., Oakland with a Funeral Service at 10am in the Berean Baptist Church, in Harrisville. Burial will follow in Acotes Hill Cemetery, Chepachet. Calling hours will be held Tuesday from 4-7pm. In lieu of flowers, donations to Women & Infants Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit would be appreciated.