AT 85, SHE KEEPS ON GIVING.
Elsie Spangler will be 85 years old on Thursday. You would have a hard time knowing it, because this lady is brimming over with enthusiasm, energy and doing what she loves to do best: giving of herself.
Spangler, who has lived at the Motion Picture Home in Calabasas for the past four years, acts as fire warden there for six residents, is active in its resident job corps program and is the home's recording council secretary. She also volunteers twice a week as a docent at Calabasas' Leonis Adobe, designated a historic cultural monument by the Cultural Heritage Board of the Municipal Art Department of the City of Los Angeles. Dressed in an authentic outfit of the 1880s, she informs visitors of the history of site and what life was like back then. When asked to conduct a school tour of the Adobe, she takes the children around and shows them how to grind corn, churn butter and make tortillas.
``Elsie's an amazing person,'' says Phyllis Power, the Leonis Adobe director. ``She has more energy than any other docent. She does a superb job and has added tremendously to our visitors' enjoyment. Her enthusiasm is outstanding, and her stories are wonderful.
``About a year ago, while doing a tour with a class of schoolchildren, she was asked by one of them how old she was. When she told them, they spontaneously applauded, and it brought tears to my eyes that these young children recognized her efforts and truly appreciated her.''
Spangler prides herself in coming from a good, solid, common-sense, ethical and moral family that believed in giving more than they got. The oldest of Jim and Ella Auld's three girls, she was born in Point Louisiana, Union Parish, La., on March 11, 1914. Her parents owned the general store, which had the post office in one corner.
Spangler attended Louisiana Tech and Ouachita College (now North East State University) and at 19 taught third grade for a year.
In 1936, she married John Mason. Together they ran a grocery market in West Monroe, La., until he joined the Coast Guard during World War II.
Spangler herself is a World War II veteran, in 1943 joining the WAAC (Women's Army Auxiliary Corps) that six months later became the WAC (Women's Army Corps). She worked in the Quarter Master Corps issuing food to mess halls, computing on a slide rule the amounts of food each mess hall should receive.
Stationed on the West Coast, Spangler decided to stay out here after the war. She and Mason were divorced in 1951.
In 1954, she married George (Les) Spangler, a master craftsman and property maker who built sets for the movie studios. Eligible to buy a house as a veteran, Spangler cashed in a life-insurance policy she had back in Louisiana and used it for a down payment.
The couple were married for 22 years; 10 of those he was ill with emphysema. In 1975, he passed away at the Motion Picture Hospital.
Spangler says this of herself: ``I don't stand still. Some days I don't give myself a very good report card, because I didn't do it as well as I intended.''
Photo: Leonis Adobe docent Elsie Spangler shows visitors how to grind corn and churn butter at the historic Calabasas site. She lives at the Motion Picture Home.
Evan Yee/Daily News
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|Title Annotation:||L.A. LIFE|
|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Mar 9, 1999|
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