Joan Ruth (Bredesen) Spencer, 84, of Brandon, Florida, entered into Eternal Life on March 4, 2019. She passed away peacefully, while surrounded by family.
Joan was born July 19, 1934, in the city of Altoona, Wisconsin, to Edwin and Ruth (Johnson) Bredesen. She attended grade school and high school in Altoona and was a senior in high school when a Halloween fire burned the school down. While in school, she was an active participant in band and loved being a cheerleader for the boys’ athletic teams. At that time, girls could not participate in athletic competition with girls in other school districts. One of her claims to fame, though, was being a good friend to Fuzzy Thurston, also an Altoona graduate, who became famous as a guard for the Green Bay Packers!
After graduation in 1952, Joan went to Minneapolis to attend a vocational school and become trained as an x-ray technician. That vocation was cut short, however, because in 1953 she married the love of her life, Neil Manor, who she originally met while roller skating during her middle school years. Together, they had five children and worked as a family to successfully own and operate Neil’s Auto Sales and Body Shop in Altoona. Future business adventures also included the Altoona Rooming House/Hotel and the Winner’s Circle Bar and Restaurant between Altoona and Fall Creek. Joan, Neil, and family became very involved in stock car races, with son Punky becoming a successful racer on the circuit. The whole family sometimes took trips to Florida to watch the Daytona 500.
Joan had many opportunities to travel in her life. She visited the Canary Islands with Neil on a trip he won in a contest with Shell Oil. Later in life, she also earned some trips for being a top Cadillac salesperson while working in Florida. Not many people can get tickets to see the Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta, Georgia, but Joan was lucky enough to win some! Joan traveled out of the country to Newfoundland, Bermuda, and Cozumel, as well as around 12 different states in the U.S. She particularly enjoyed driving from Florida back to her home in Wisconsin to visit relatives and friends each year.
Joan was always a faithful member and active participant in church life wherever she was living. At the United Methodist Church in Altoona, she sang in the choir and was a Sunday School teacher. While living in Homosassa, Florida, she joined the United Methodist Church there and was an active volunteer for whatever she could do. In her later years, she became a member of the New Hope United Methodist Church in Brandon, Florida, where she will have her memorial service.
After Neil passed in 1979, Joan actively joined the world of work. Since she had a knowledge of automobiles, she became a natural at selling them. She was a salesperson for Ken Vance in Eau Claire and later for Bay Cadillac in Tampa, Florida, earning several awards including trips to West Palm Beach, Florida. Her wonderful personality in sales led her to earn her real estate license and a job with ERA Key Realty for 14 years. She always had a smile on her face and just loved working with people. They loved her, too!
Joan was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s several years also and enjoyed her last years with her family, traveling, working out, and dancing to the very end. Even in her disease, she brought joy and comfort to others and their families inflicted with the disease. She will be deeply missed by all who came in contact with her.
Joan is survived by her daughters, Renee (Kevin) Brooks, Shari Haroldson and Jackie Lindsey, 10 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren, sister-in-laws, Marlene Bredesen and Patricia (Manor) Farrell, many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, husband Neil, sons Neil Jr. (Punky) and Chris, brothers, Jerome Bredesen and Robert Bredesen, sister Betty Toutant, brother-in-law Lloyd Toutant, sister-in-law Edna Bredesen, father-in-law and mother-in-law Raymond and Gladys Manor, brother-in-law and wife William and Vera Manor, sister-in-law Beulah (Manor) Williams and husbands Marcellus Graber and Hubert Clay Spencer.
Funeral service is scheduled for June 22, 2019 at 11 am, at Altoona United Methodist Church, Altoona, WI.