Leona Spencer was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She graduated from Central High School in 1945, and went on to marry her husband Edward in 1948. They have three children.
Early in life she wanted to become a social worker, and vowed to treat the disadvantaged, mothers, children, and family members with respect and dignity. Leona graduated from Grand Valley State College in 1975 with honors. She received the Departmental Honors Award in the School of Public Service and returned to GVSU in 1987 to receive the Distinguished Alumni Award.
Spencer has held many positions over the years, which all have been closely tied to her passion for community. She helped establish the Sarah Allen Family Neighborhood Center in 1985 through her church, by organizing volunteers of all ethnic groups and religious denominations to respond to educational needs, drug recovery, and physical needs of the area.
Her dedication to youth shines through her many roles as chairperson, committee member, board member, and on advisory councils.
Leona has received more than 60 local, state, national and international awards, including Governors Service from John Engler, recognition from State Representatives the Giant Among Giants, and induction into the Grand Rapids Queen Mothers Association.
Leona passed away in October 2013.