A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Thel Spencer spent thirty-two years in the Washington, D.C. area where employment took her to the headquarters of the National Woman's Party on Capitol Hill. In 1977 she was Executive Secretary of the NWP, an organization founded in 1913 by suffrage leader, Dr. Alice Paul, and dedicated to securing for all American women the right to vote. After passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Dr. Paul authored the Equal Rights Amendment, which was introduced in Congress in 1923 and every year thereafter until the amendment was passed in 1972 by both houses and sent to the states for ratification. Spencer's memoirs, The Book of Thel, includes exhilarating personal anecdotes and memories of her involvement in the Women's Movement over the last quarter-century. Spencer moved back to her native Missouri in 1981. This was a return to the Ozarks she knew and loved as a child and to the city of Springfield she grew to love in semi-retirement. After twenty years, Thel dusted off her southern drawl and relocated to Anderson, South Carolina, where she has found numerous interesting citizens and leisure time to continue in her "Spécialité les Mémoire."
Thelma passed away peacefully at her home surrounded by her loved ones in Zirconia, North Carolina on Monday, October 23, 2023.