Marietta E. Spencer, 95, a former executive at Children’s Home Society of Minnesota, died April 2, 2017.

Marietta’s brilliant mind was taken away slowly, but she continued to express feeling lucky and happy, as she did throughout her life.

Born in Vienna, Austria, Marietta was awarded a scholarship to Reed College in Portland, Ore., where she obtained her undergraduate degree in social work. There, she met her life partner and collaborator, Robert. The two moved to the Twin Cities when Robert accepted a position as a professor of cultural anthropology at the University of Minnesota. Marietta attended graduate school and obtained her masters in medical social work.

Marietta was a fierce advocate for all children, particularly the rights of adoptees to obtain and have access to their medical history throughout their lives. Marietta was a pioneer in establishing terminology standards that attempted to take away stigmas around being adopted from the adoptee’s point of view. She worked to ensure that adoption, pregnancy counseling, post-adoption services, coaching and education would be available across the U.S., Korea and other countries.

Marietta enjoyed food and was known for her phenomenal marzipan cakes. She was particularly fond of chocolate. She loved animals and throughout her family life had guinea pigs, mice, dogs or bunny rabbits, always considered family.

Marietta is survived by her son and daughter, Paul Spencer (Debra) and Claudia Samuelson (Bill).  She was preceded in death by a brother, Herbert, and husband, Robert.

A private memorial service will be held in her honor. If desired, memorials may be sent to the Minnesota Humane Society, Minnesota Epilepsy Foundation or Planned Parenthood.

2 Responses

  1. Dee ann

    You didnt mention she was who made the term ” birth mother” a common name for the mother who gave birth thats what she is credited for!

  2. Dee ann sigvertsen

    I was wondering if she was still alive and i came across this she placed me in a wonderful home and met with me again years later when i connected with my birth family. She was one no nonsense lady i will never forget god bless her!

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