Tiffany Ann Spencer hadn’t been born when the remnants of Hurricane Camille devastated Nelson County and her extended family along Davis Creek.
But Spencer, 44, who died in a car wreck on Aug. 9, came to know each of the lives lost in the flood and landslides caused by torrential rain from the storm on Aug. 19-20, 1969.
Her grandparents, Tom and Adelaide Huffman, survived the storm that killed more than 50 people on Davis Creek alone, including at least 20 members of their extended family.
“She grew up hearing from her grandmother about the tragedy of Camille,” said Heywood “Woody” Greenberg, secretary of the Nelson County Historical Society. “She dedicated herself to keeping their memory alive.”
Spencer and her work will be remembered on Sunday in a ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of Camille, which killed 153 people statewide, including 124 in Nelson.
She compiled the list of Camille victims used in the commemorative program. For the 47th anniversary three years ago, she produced a PowerPoint presentation with photographs and stories about the people who lost their lives along Davis Creek during Camille.
Spencer had interviewed surviving relatives of people who perished in the flood and studied birth, marriage and death certificates, according to remarks prepared for Sunday’s memorial.
“Her work is a great achievement, a labor of love and devotion to those whose lives were lost in August 1969,” the remarks say. “We think of Tiffany and her contributions today because of her recognition that Nelson County never wants to forget those we lost in 1969.”
Spencer lived on Wright Lane, off Davis Creek Lane near Lovingston. She died in a single-car crash after striking a tree on the side of Davis Creek Lane at 7:19 p.m. on Aug. 9.
She is survived by her mother, Rebecca Anne Huffman Spencer; three children; and one brother.