Spencer’s full life continues at Sycamore Reserve


Life’s rearview mirror has been good to Verleta Spencer the past 84 years.

A resident of Sycamore Reserve Senior Resort Living, 8275 Craig St., Indianapolis, for nearly a year, Spencer enthusiastically embraces her situation, as well as what lies ahead.

“Actually, I chose to come here. I like it very much. It’s home right now,” said Spencer, a retired minister who was born in the village of Culloden in Tobago in Caribbean. “I fix my own meals because I like my independence. But what really drew me in when I walked in the front door was how the sales representative was so warm and friendly.”

Sycamore Reserve reserve Verleta Spencer is a retired minister. (Photo courtesy of Sycamore Reserve)

Spencer is the embodiment of a life well-lived and well-served.

She left her village at age 16 to move to Trinidad, where she was employed as a maid, and began attending Bible school two years later, where she met the man she would eventually marry, Keith Spencer.

Keith, too, worked in ministry, so for 54 years, the couple served in different nations and U.S. states. Keith died on May 24, 2015.

Spencer was 31 when she moved to the U.S.

“My husband and I came to the United States in 1970 because we had friends here,” Spencer said. “We were lucky to be granted a six-month visitor’s visa, and then we got connected to a Baptist church in New Rochelle, N.Y. We got an extension while attending that church, and, eventually, a permanent (visa) because they wanted Keith as a minister.

“Like I tell everybody, we had 54 years together. It was awesome.”

Spencer lived with the youngest of the couple’s four children, Keith Jr., in an apartment in Indianapolis prior to moving to Sycamore Reserve in March of 2022.

In her new surroundings, Verleta, a grandmother to 11 grandchildren and a great-grandmother to 13, remains active. She never misses Happy Hour, is from 3 to 4:30 p.m. and includes an hour of entertainment.

“There’s one person, Rhatatat, he’s my favorite. I love his music,” Spencer said. “I also like the fireside chats in the evening and playing board games like Uno, dominos and Yahtzee.”

Sycamore Reserve has 97 suites with 14 different floor plans, the largest being the 1,152-square-foot River Burch, which has two bedrooms and two bathrooms. One-bedroom and studio suites also are available. They are between 423 and 520 square feet.

Among the amenities Sycamore Reserve offers are restaurant-style gourmet dining, daily activities, a community garden, wellness program and fitness center.

Residents also benefit from having a 24-hour, on-site staff.

Spencer, who has seen and experienced much in her eight-plus decades of living, feels right at home.

“This place has a warm and cozy feeling,” said Spencer, who previously lived in New Rochelle, N.Y. Springfield, Mass., and Wichita, Kan., while she served in ministry. “And the fact I have an apartment no one had ever lived in before, I like that.”