Regina Esther Spence was born on December 11, 1953 to the late Samuel Earl Walker and Romelda Walker in Queens, New York.
The first thing you noticed about Regina was that warm, bright smile she would give you. She had an amazing imagination and gift for story telling and writing and viewing the world through the eyes of a child. She also had a passion for sharing health and nutritional information and going out of her way to help others in her community.
Regina attended primary and public school in Bay Shore, NY, before later going on to graduate from Andrews University in Michigan in 1983, where she studied Nursing.
After graduating in 1983, Regina worked at various hospitals in the Hinsdale, Illinois area before moving back to New York in 1986 following a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis and a very rare blood disorder (Essential Thrombocythemia). Both were devastating diagnoses at the time, but Regina never looked at them that way. Instead of saying: “Why me,” she asked “why not me?”
Thanks to the effort and encouragement from her late mother, Romelda Walker (a Licensed Occupational Therapist), and her strong faith in God, Regina decided then to take on MS her way, rather than let it take her, and in the process lived her life as normally as possible for almost 30 years. In fact, realizing that people would be watching how she managed MS, she just wanted to be a good ‘ambassador’ for disabled people.
She continued working as an RN in different hospitals in New York’s Manhattan and Brooklyn until it became more difficult for her to move around because of her MS. She eventually moved to Long Island. However, as a long time member of the Amityville Seventh Day Adventist Church in Amityville, New York, Regina spent years on the South Shore of Long Island, NY witnessing to people door to door, selling bibles and books and befriending elderly people. She never even considered taking it easy.
She then joined the Gordon Heights Seventh Day Adventist Church, also in New York, where she would befriend her future father-in-law, James Spence. It was he and his beautiful bride Ethelyn that introduced Regina to her future husband, and after a long courtship, she and Tony married on September 14, 2003. After residing for a few years in Patchogue, NY, they eventually relocated to Apopka, Florida and joined the Maranatha Seventh Day Adventist Church.
As a long time faithful servant and Seventh Day Adventist, Regina’s faith was the corner stone of her life and the foundation that kept her grounded and strong through it all. It was really because of this that she never succumbed to the MS drugs that doctors wanted to push on her to treat her symptoms.
She was a big advocate for healthy living inside and out, and started researching and educating herself on proper nutrition and natural remedies as her own medication for dealing with MS and living a healthy life. If she bumped into someone on a bus or learned of someone dealing with any health issue of any kind, she would research the information, write up a paper and send it to him or her. Regina had always wanted to write a book on living with MS, but instead created a wonderful Blog online: Mutley’s Great Adventure, to share her health tips for others living with MS.
With the support of her loving husband Tony keeping her steady and never ever leaving her side, they provided health education at inner city and other community events in the Orlando area.
Although in later years, the MS restricted Regina physically, she was as free as a bird in her heart and mind– a young spirit who loved all things classy like Audrey Hepburn and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” to tasty indulgences like chocolate cake & ice cream and mac & cheese, to the smallest of things like Hello Kitty, the piglet and three blind mice ice from Babe, her cow cap which she always wore, and the characters that she and Tony created through their imagination: Scooter and Bucky.
She loved, loved, loved her heavenly father, and even in the end, put her trust in him. Regina really loved her family and friends. She was always there with a card, a letter, or a phone call with encouraging words or a positive affirmation. She did this for so many people.
Regina also loved nature, and chocolate, chocolate, and…oh yeah, more chocolate. She enjoyed walking along the beach with Tony – especially Fire Island in New York, and Daytona Beach in Orlando. But, most of all, she loved her best friend, partner and husband, Tony. He was her rock and, in Regina’s own words, “the most wonderful ‘boy-next-door’.
On Thursday, February 20, 2014, Mutley’s Great Adventure came to an end. Regina Spence, age 60, closed those beautiful, smiling brown eyes, for the last time at Florida Hospital, Orlando, surrounded by loved ones.
Survivors include her beloved husband Anthony Spence, her siblings Patricia, Dahlia and Ronald Walker, and in-laws, Dr. Anna Walker andPaul and Lenore Brantley. She leaves behind three nieces, Akiyama, Celia and Elizah and numerous other relatives, extended family and friends, here and abroad. Regina was preceded in death by her parents, Samuel Earl and Romelda Walker and her older brother Samuel, who affectionately nicknamed Regina, “Mutley.”
A Memorial Service will be held on Sunday, March 2, at 11:00 am at the Maranatha Seventh Day Adventist Church, 1400 Bear Lake Road, Apopka, FL 32703. Relatives and friends are welcome at the service and the potluck reception to follow.
An additional Memorial Service for Regina will be held in New York, on Sunday, March 16, 2014, at 11:00 am, at the Gordon Heights Seventh Day Adventist Church, 21 Teller Avenue, Coram, NY 11727-0158. Relatives and friends are welcome at the service and the potluck reception to follow.