Josephine Spencer greets each day with her infectious enthusiasm. “When you have the kind of active lifestyle I have, there’s no such thing as an average day,” she says with a smile.
Josephine enjoys taking advantage of many activities Touchmark has to offer. “I’ll do anything I can do, because I can.”
Whether it’s participating in an exercise class, creating art, meeting with her Bible study group, teaching sing-alongs in the memory care neighborhood, playing bridge and poker, listening to speakers, or attending Book Club and birthday nights, Josephine is always eager to learn new things and make new friends.
The decision to move to Touchmark was an easy one. Moments after walking in the front door for the first time, she knew she’d found her new home. “I just knew the moment I got here this was the place for me.”
Three-and-a-half years later, she loves it even more. “It’s so convenient! It’s close to downtown, both hospitals, and other health care options.”
Josephine has enjoyed getting to know the new chef, Clinton. “I really appreciate how responsive he is to what I like to eat,” she says. “And I love the barbecued ribs and the spinach with chicken salad!”
She has always liked to eat fresh, healthy foods. “Now it takes a lot less effort on my part to get those meals.”
Commitment to service
Though Josephine decided not to pursue a career as she became a wife and mother to two boys, she always placed a high value on service to her community.
“I’ve always volunteered. It’s just what I’ve always done and what I still really like to do.”
Since moving to Sioux Falls over 10 years ago to be closer to one of her sons—a biology professor at Augustana University—she has volunteered around the area in a variety of capacities. Fluent in Spanish and a piano player, she is happy to volunteer as a musician at a local Latino Lutheran Church.
Josephine lives with a simple yet profound philosophy: “Whatever you give, you get back.” That’s how she feels about living at Touchmark.
“You get back more than what you give, and I try to give as much as I can.”
Josephine loves to stroll the halls and check in with her friends, who all appreciate her eclectic style, both in personal fashion and how she decorates her apartment. While she’s very confident in her taste, it’s something she was never formally trained in; she just picked it up through the years from her sisters and family.
“We were never into the ‘in’ thing. I just found things I liked that worked and eventually kept learning and growing.”
She treasures the beautiful art pieces she and her husband collected over the years, many from his ancestors.
“I like hosting impromptu gatherings in my apartment and planning our next outing or trading news about what’s happening.”
One thing friends don’t notice upon entering her home is a TV. “I’ve never had one. It’s nothing against TV, it’s just never been a part of our lives. We never even thought to get one.” She does admit to sneaking an occasional peak at her computer to check out videos on YouTube and elsewhere.
Raised on the ranch
Josephine was raised on a ranch in Texas hill country with her two sisters.
“I couldn’t even rope a fencepost,” she says, laughing, “but I loved to ride horses!” When she was 5, her best gift was her first horse. “My sister and I rode mostly for pleasure, but during World War II, most of the neighboring young men were off to war, so we helped our father during roundup time.”
Life with her husband and his service in the Air Force took them far away from Texas, with the couple eventually settling in northern Vermont. “I loved growing up in Texas, but I was happy to get to see and experience other parts of the U.S.” She has been a widow since 2010.
A blessed life
“I feel tremendously blessed to have kept my health through the years.” She loves spending time with her kids and grandkids, and as much as she enjoys the meals at Touchmark, she likes going out to a nice dinner with her family on occasion.
Josephine has also come to view many of Touchmark’s team members as her friends. She has a great appreciation and respect for them as well as the instructors and performers who come to teach and entertain residents.
“Anyone who takes the time to teach someone else a new skill is someone worth getting to know in my book!”
She says she would be glad to teach some of the other residents a little Spanish if someone is interested in getting acquainted with a foreign language.
With all the activity in Josephine’s life, she never knows what each new day will bring. But she does know she’s ready for it, whatever it is!
“I plan on learning as much as I can and giving back as much as I can for as long as I’m able!”