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Lois Irene Soper Spencer


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Complied by her son Karl Faler ( Who passed away in June of 2017)

She was born into the teeth of the great depression of the 1930’s  the only child of hard working parents Harold and Mary Soper  in Twin Falls, Idaho.

Harold built trailers from wrecked car and truck bodies and was located on “Truck Lane,” the road to “ANYWHERE USA”

or so his slogan went.

Mary Soper owned and rented low income housing and kept the books for their fledgling company Nationwide Trailers   (a precursor to U-Haul).

Lois worked in the local library from her early years and was valedictorian of her high school graduating class even though it was very hard for a NON-Mormon to compete against the L.D.S. kids.

HOWEVER     little “Copper Top” was successful against the odds on many occasions; even against some entrenched and powerful foes.

A couple of colleges and a University degree later she married Ken Faler, a brilliant nuclear scientist and they moved to San Antonio Texas to serve Ken’s military hitch. There they had their only child    Karl while Ken served at Fort Sam Houston in medical research and radiation applications.

Ken was then recruited to University of California Berkeley Radiation Labs. There he developed a common thyroid function test; he also identified two isotopes on the “Chart of Atomic Nuclides”  and worked with famous people at Lawrence Livermore National Labs.  Lois typed his PhD thesis on a manual typewriter while raising a tempestuous and energetic child into pre-school, all this, in spite of being quite disabled by severe allergies and crippling arthritis ... all of which resolved after moving to Florida.

In 1959 they moved to Eastern Idaho so Ken could work for the Atomic Energy Commission and raise their son in the wilds of the WEST.

Lois wrote a regular column for the Eastern Idaho Farmer Newspaper.

“The Culinary Corner” got her recognized as a Journalist; newspapers then published her interviews with Farmers, Ranchers nd Idaho newsmakers.

Academia called them to Idaho State University in Pocatello Lois became University Periodicals Librarian and Ken became College Dean.

During those years she often wore a Huge Black Stetson cowboy hat with her copper hair flowing out from under the hat you could see her for 20 miles across the deserts and lava flows.

She rode a big tough black horse she named KIT CARSON.  That horse later became her son’s performance and competition horse
when he outgrew his pony.

She regularly wore a pistol on her hip and was a crack shot with a (4ten) .410   Shotgun frequently out‑shooting the men with their big TWELVE gauge weapons

An accomplished rifle shot she also put many hundreds of pounds of meat in the freezer; deer, elk, bear, grouse and ducks that we butchered wrapped and preserved,  often as pemmican, for horse trips and canoeing.

The family ran some of the wildest white water in America; including the River of No Return, Snake River, Hell’s Canyon and many others.

A favorite story Lois tells is a friend was getting some meat out of our freezer;    she saw packages that said   Moose, Elk, Rattlesnake, Buffalo, Sage Grouse & etc and one labeled “D.O.G.” the lady was horrified until she learned that when we butchered game the bones and gristle were set aside as scraps for HuckleBerry Hound  the faithful family Basset to chew not for dog-soup as she imagined.”

Divorce and graduate school attracted Lois to the Twin Cities, in Minnesota. She took night school, the Dale Carnage Courses and worked at an Exclusive dress shop. Relaxing at a piano bar she met a gutsy operatic Tenor singing her favorites including Impossible Dream and other ballads.  Joe Spencer, the singer, needed temporary help during the Christmas season, selling his enamels at one of the newly created in-door malls of the 1970’s. Joe offered independence and the opportunity for her to test herself against the rigors of life as a traveling artist’s sales associate.  Her story is boldly told in her Book Artist or Zoo
a self published work of non-fiction that is still available. It is full of fun prose and humorous stories of life on-the-road in America.

Marrying Joe; they set-up home in Safety Harbor, Fl as a studio for production and an art gallery.      Joe settled into being “artist-in-residence” at the Kapok Tree for several years,  Lois became a promoter for festivals, street fairs and community events by forming United Productions Corporation and attending Ringling’s Clown College in Sarasota.

Lois’s mother Mary Soper bought the House that is now the Marker39 restaurant in the 1970s it is formerly Crape-ology, Woodstock and others In the last few years Lois has slowed down but many people know her as the Antique Lady of Safety Harbor,  Mrs. Claus (at Christmas time), ‘The Reading Rabbit’ at the library’s Easter Event & other fun characters.

Originator of the Seafood Festival and enthusiastic community participant.

Lois’s life was NOT an Impossible Dream she lived it well and reveled in it.   Thank you for Taking a Stroll Down Memory Lane

Karl Faler (her son)





Safety Harbor icon Lois Spencer passed away on July 5, 2014 following a brief illness at the age of 83.

The fabric of a community is made up of contributions from many individuals, some of whom go above and beyond what is expected of them and, in turn, make their city a better place to live, work and visit.

But few can cross multiple boxes off their community checklist – business owner, volunteer, civic leader, animal lover, costume wearer – while also having a profound impact on nearly everyone they meet.

Lois Spencer was obviously that kind of person to Safety Harbor, based on the sincerity of the remarks made at a memorial service held in her honor on Sunday night, two weeks after her sudden passing at the age of 83.

“Many people know her as the Antique Lady of Safety Harbor, Mrs. Claus at Christmastime, the ‘Reading Rabbit’ at the library’s Easter event, originator of the Seafood Festival and an enthusiastic community participant,” Spencer’s daughter-in-law, Miriam Hoekstra, said at the start of the ceremony.

“Lois’ life was not an impossible dream. She lived it well and reveled in it.”

Following those opening remarks, which traced Lois’ life from a “little girl with flaming red hair” to the time she met her second husband, Joe, in a Minneapolis piano bar, a number of her friends, relatives and associates took turns recalling the many ways the woman born Lois Irene Soper had impacted their lives.

“I met Lois in the summer of 1982,” former city official and current library fund trustee Tom Ronald said. “At that time I was in charge of the library, and libraries were very important to Lois.”

“Over the years, Lois and I had a lot of conversations,” he continued. “We had a lot of laughs, had some different points of view, and we shed a lot of tears…I will miss my friend, but I will always remembers the markers along life’s highway that we shared.”

Kiwanis Club members Paul Bryan and Nadine Nickeson then spoke about Lois’ contributions to the civic group’s annual arts and crafts show, which she helped organize roughly 30 years ago.

“Safety Harbor Kiwanis did very well…because of the arts and crafts show Lois helped create,” Bryan said. “Still, to this day, it’s probably one of our most important functions to give back to the community.”

Safety Harbor firefighters John Weston (l) and Charles Russell, Jr.

“In 1979 we had our first arts and crafts show, and through the years it has brought back to the community over $400,000,” Nickeson added. “I learned the procedures from Lois…she was a big part of Safety Harbor.”

Safety Harbor firefighters John Weston and Charles Russell, Jr. also evoked fond memories of Mrs. Spencer, most notably when Weston admitted he has played second fiddle as Santa to Lois’ Mrs. Claus all of these years.

“I’m really going to miss her this year for the parade,” Weston said, as more than a few sniffles could be heard in the room.

“I don’t know what we’re going to do, but nobody’s going to be able to replace Lois as Mrs. Santa.”

After Lois’ longtime employee Linda Clark read a heartfelt poem in her honor and library director Lisa Kothe recalled Spencer’s deep commitment to the facility, family friend Sara Green put a poignant bow on the evening.

Spencer family friend Sara Green.

Green spun a tale about a spider’s web, how the web is 20 times bigger than the creature that creates it and is made up of “hundreds of intricate connections” that ensnare anything that comes in contact with it.

She then compared Lois’ influence on the Safety Harbor community to a web, as she touched all the lives that came into contact with her.

“Lois is not a spider, but oh the web she spun,” Green said. “This is her town. This is her web. And she lovingly toiled over each strand, an artist in her own right.”

“Today we celebrate Lois’ life by celebrating the community that has benefitted so greatly from her work, and from the way she supported the work of others. Her life, and the legacy she has left us to call our own, is surely worthy of celebration.”

Note: Spencer’s family is asking that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Safety Harbor Public Library’s Chrissie Elmore Trust in Lois’ name. Checks can be dropped off at the library or mailed to:

Chrissie Shull Elmore – Safety Harbor Library Fund

c/o Thomas K. Ronald

46 Laurelcrest Lane

Travelers Rest, SC 29690



Mary Drye  She was a wonderful and kind person. Always had a good word to say and was especially helpful to my family. Every year at Halloween she would take a picture of my grandchildren in their costumes. She took over doing as Mrs. Claus when my folks, Al and Jeanne Gotts moved from Safety Harbor. She was my friend. I was saddened very much to hear of her passing. No one will be able to take her place. Rest in Peach Mrs. Spencer.

Mary Drye and Family

  1. Carlos & Ana Velasco  We know her because the love of bonsai ..she held the bonsai club at Safety Harbor too. full of energy, gentleness, kindness, but well secure in every word, wise women in every step, We have the blessing to know her to share with her, to just stay by her side and listening.We are keeping the best memories.The Velasco Family(Carlos, Ana, Sebastian and Nicolas).

Jeff Rosenfield
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on Lois. She will truly be missed by many people for many reasons.


Frankie Compton  We are from London, UK. Our son married a local girl so we’ve been visiting them for the last 4 years. I stumbled on Lois’s shop by chance and was so enchanted by her loveliness and gentle invitation to browse that each time lwe passed Safety Harbor I had to pop in. I always found a little something to buy. That shop is full of treasure and she was the most precious one in it. I will never forget her soft white hair, her beautiful blue eyes and how she reminded me of a porcelain doll, she looked so delicate. I shall miss visiting her when we’re next in Safety Harbor.
My family and I send our deepest condolences to her husband and son. Do sorry for your loss.
Frankie (London, UK)

  1. =====================================================

Lois Spencer, a longtime Safety Harbor merchant and resident, passed away on Saturday at the age of 83.

Lois Spencer, a longtime resident, business owner and philanthropic figure in Safety Harbor, passed away on Saturday, July 5th, after a brief illness. She was 83.

Spencer, who lived in Safety Harbor for more than 30 years and opened her shop, Antiques and Collectibles, in 1994, was well known around town for her outspoken personality, her giving nature, and for her portrayal of Mrs. Claus in the city’s annual holiday parade.

She is survived by her son, Karl, and her husband, Joe, another local icon who creates glass art in the couple’s bungalow located behind the Main Street shop.

“There is not a single person who did not love Lois,”Linda Clark, who worked for Spencer for the past 25 years, said on Tuesday outside the shop, which is now permanently closed, according to a sign on the door.

“She was good to people, she was good to dogs, she did so much for the community. She was truly Safety Harbor’s angel.”

In addition to running her business, Spencer, a native of Idaho who was once a university librarian, devoted much of her free time to local charitable organizations.

Lois Spencer’s shop, Antiques and Collectibles, on Main Street in downtown Safety Harbor.

She and her husband were driving forces behind many of the city’s popular events, including the biannual Kiwanis Club art shows, the seafood festival and Third Friday. Lois was also a huge supporter of the Safety Harbor Public Library.

“Lois and Joe started Special Events in Safety Harbor with the Seafood Festival years ago,” City Manager Matt Spoor wrote via email. “She was always proud of the growth of special events in her town. She would participate in or patronize every one.”

In fact, it was through her work with the Kiwanis Club that Spencer began dressing as Mrs. Claus for the organization’s annual holiday parade, a role that endeared her to a whole new generation of Safety Harbor residents.

“I doubt we will replace her in the parade,” Spoor, who had the honor of driving Mrs. Spencer to her float for the past ten years, said. “You cannot replace a woman like Lois Spencer.”

As word of Spencer’s passing began to spread throughout town, reactions began pouring in from residents, fellow downtown merchants and city officials.

“Lois was a great part of the Safety Harbor community and she will surely be missed,” Mayor Andy Steingold communicated to Safety Harbor Connect while traveling with his family. 

“Her attitude and community spirit will continue on in each of us.”

Sue Cello, co-owner of Cello’s Char-house, said she was with Lois shortly before she was hospitalized.

“She sat down with us at Paradise last week when we were having breakfast & told us she wasn’t feeling up to par,” Cello recalled.

“We said our goodbye’s, and then Ellen & I said to one another, ‘ Its going to be a sad day when we lose her’. And here we are, a week later, facing that sad day.”

Here is a sampling of some of the comments that were left on the Safety Harbor Connect Facebook page regarding Lois’ passing:

“Oh no. So sad. I will miss her hauling up and down Main Street with her walker.”  - Susan Massarsky

“I will miss you Lois! What a special lady who cared deeply for Safety Harbor and the people who lived there. My prayer to Joe and the rest of the family.”  - Robin Borland

“The heavens have a new angel to watch down on us. Sympathies to her family and friends.” – Lynn Marksberry

“Safety Harbor will miss you, Lois! And yes, heaven will have a special angel.” – Marie Padavich

“Sending love and condolences to all. I have grown up going into her shop and chatting with her.” - Meghan Jontina Poole-Van Swol

“Lois will be missed. Our Jeanie dog, got all excited when she saw her coming, because she always had a special treats for her that she pulled out from the basket in her walker.” – Jarine Zuidema Dotson

“Wow I will miss seeing her sweet smile I loved having a quick chat with her when she was doing her walk down main street!” – Anita K. Martin

 Obituary from Paper

SPENCER, Lois Irene Soper Faler, born April 27, 1931, died July 5, 2014. Survived by husband, Joe Spencer; son, Karl Faler; stepchildren, Curt Spencer and JoEllen Granaas; and a community of friends. Only child of Harold and Mary Soper of Twin Falls, ID, high school valedictorian, bachelor's degree from Idaho State University, librarian, author, promoter and The Antique Lady of Safety Harbor Antiques and Collectibles, Main Street, Safety Harbor, FL. Public memorial will be held at the Safety Harbor Public Library on Sunday, July 20th at 6:30 pm. In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent in Lois Spencer's name payable to: Chrissie Shull Elmore Safety Harbor Library Fund, c/o Thomas K. Ronald, Trustee, 46 Laurelcrest Lane, Travelers Rest,