City Clerk Patty Spencer loses cancer fight; services Wed., Thurs.

By Dee Longfellow

For The Elmhurst Independent

Patricia Jo “Patty” Spencer, nee Armato, succumbed to metastatic breast cancer after a valiant fight that lasted ten years on September 20, 2019. Patty had been preceded to heaven by her parents, Sam and Marie Armato, and by a sister, Anna Yonker.  Patty is survived by Byron Spencer, her husband of 38 years; by a stepdaughter Amy (Jonathan) Brumley; by her grandchildren Eleanor, Theodore and Clara Brumley; by her twin brother Carl (Theresa) Armato; sister-in-law Angela (Steve) Kidd; nephews Frank (Nikki) Armato and Andrew Kidd; nieces Carla Armato and Jackie (Jason) Hanson, a great-nephew Jack Hanson and great-nieces Anna and Ava Armato.

Visitation will be held at Ahlgrim Funeral Home, 567 S. Spring Rd., from 3 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 25.  Funeral services will be held at the funeral home beginning at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 26.  Interment St. Peter’s Cemetery, Elmhurst. Information is available at 630-834-3515 or ahlgrim.com.

About Patty’s life

Patty was integrally involved in community service with her beloved City of Elmhurst. At the time of her death, she was serving her fourth term as the elected City Clerk.  She served Elmhurst Memorial Hospital in various volunteer capacities culminating as Chairman of the Guild and a term on the Board of Trustees, while the current facility was in the planning stages.  She also served with the Elmhurst Art Museum and Garden Club among many other organizations.

One of the people involved in many volunteer endeavors with Patty was Marisa Mancini.

“I met Patty 18 years ago when I joined the Board of the Elmhurst Hospital Guild,” she said. “Elmhurst was Patty’s passion, and she devoted herself tirelessly to its betterment — undeterred by any obstacle. In brainstorming fundraising ideas for the Guild, it was Patty who created Chef Fest, the Guild‘s most successful fundraiser to date.“Remarkably positive, disarmingly charming, quick-witted, and marvelously intelligent, Patty was my mentor, my inspiration, and my dear friend. I will miss her always.”

In May of 2017 at the City Council meeting, Elmhurst Mayor Steve Morley issued a Proclamation designating May 7-13, 2017, as “Municipal Clerks Week,” which noted that, “the City Clerk serves as the professional link between the citizens, the local governing bodies and agencies of government at other levels.”

At that time, the Mayor extended appreciation to Spencer along with Deputy City Clerk Ellen Cyprian noting they were “continually striving to improve the administration of their duties.”

Patty Spencer has served as Elmhurst’s City Clerk since 2005, when she was first elected into office; she began her fourth term on May 1, 2017. As City Clerk, Patty bore many responsibilities including as keeper of the City seal, official keeper of the City’s records, and as Secretary to the City Council. Though she does not get a vote on items before the Council, Clerk Spencer believed in the mantra, “Clerks Make It Work,” and took her role as a direct line between residents and government very seriously.

Her duties were many since the Office of the City Clerk oversees senior transportation programs, voter registration, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, and a large variety of permits. In her role as Clerk, Spencer also served as the local election official and the Open Meetings Act (OMA) officer for the City, ensuring that all required staff, elected officials, and volunteer Commissioners complete the state-mandated training.

Along with her husband Byron, Patty was an Elmhurst resident for 35 years. Patty was involved as a volunteer and Board member for various organizations including Kiwanis Club, Elmhurst Art Museum, Elmhurst College & Community Committee, the Elmhurst Hospital Guild, the Elmhurst Garden Club and was a staunch supporter of community events.

A proud cancer survivor, Patty advocated for cancer awareness in the community through the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life and Edward-Elmhurst’s Cancer outreach programs. One year, her ACS Relay for Life team was called “Patty’s Peeps,” using marshmallow ‘Peeps’ as the theme.

Mayors offer high praises

Patty served alongside three mayors and all had nothing but glowing things to say about her in her role as City Clerk as well as the dear person she was. Former Mayor Thomas D. Marcucci had nothing but praise for Patty’s unrelenting contributions to the City of Elmhurst and its residents.

“Patty Spencer came to public service out of a true sense of trying to help her community,” he said. “She had no political agenda, no axe to grind, she just wanted to do a good job for everybody. She and [her husband] Byron have both been building on that, having a decades-long record of serving our community.”

Former Mayor Pete DiCianni had similar sentiments about Spencer.

“Patty Spencer was the most dedicated clerk I’ve ever served with,” he said. “She was a true blue lover of Elmhurst and even though she battled cancer multiple times, she always had a smile on her face that would light up the room. I will miss our Clerk who I often referred to as Queen, as that was a more fitting title for our Queen of Elmhurst! I will miss you Patty and will always be one of your ‘Peeps.’”

Mayor Steve Morley offered his thoughts as well.

“It was my honor to serve with Patty Spencer for over 12 years and during that time, we became friends,” he said. “She was dedicated to her job and to her community. Patty suffered no fools – she was direct, opinionated and committed. She was an asset to the City of Elmhurst and will truly be missed.”

 

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