About the Author
Heather MacDonald, Audrey Mae’s fifth child, lived her first seventeen years with her family in West Warwick, Rhode Island; and attended the West Warwick public schools for twelve years. After graduation, she worked for one year as a nurse’s aide at St. Elizabeth’s Nursing Home in Providence, R.I. before leaving for her out-of-state college education. She never returned to live in Rhode Island and is now living in Southern California.
Heather has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Alderson-Broaddus College–now University—in West Virginia. She, also, completed one year at Crozer Seminary—now Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School – in Pennsylvania, and has continued her life-long learning with a number of other educational pursuits.
In college Heather received the Howard K. Williams Award, the Grey Scholarship, and was a grantee of the Rhode Island American Baptist Educational Society. Heather was included in the 11th and 13th edition of Who’s Who of American Women. Other awards include a Certificate of Appreciation from Women in Community Service, (WICS); many insurance sales leader and quality awards; and, while a California state employee, the 2000 Employment Performance Award for the Mt Baldy-San Gorgonio Sub-Chapter International Association of the Workforce Professionals. In addition, she holds a lifetime limited service credential in Psychology and Professional Education for service in the Chaffey Community College District; and she holds a Substitute Teaching Credential in California.
Her career has expanded to reach many different fields and disciplines. During her college years, she was a field counselor at a school for delinquent girls in Media, Pennsylvania. Heather worked many years at three local YWCAs in California and Pennsylvania, beginning as a Youth Service Director and then as a Program Director, culminating as Executive Director. She has worked many years in churches at both paid and volunteer positions from Washington, DC to California. She worked for the concessionaire and then the Federal Government in Grand Canyon, Arizona and a summer for the concessionaire in Yosemite National Park in California. She also worked in sales with a number of insurance companies, most notably Ministers Life – now Minnesota Life — and for over ten years, operated her own insurance office in Claremont, California. She retired from the state of California Employment Development Department in 2006.
Heather lives with her husband, Chuck, in Southern California. Her daughter, April, lives in Northern California.
Heather reminisces about her sessions with her mother, which were the inspiration for the Spencer and Vaughn family history sites:
“Over the past 50 years as I traveled home to Rhode Island from Pennsylvania, DC, W. Virginia, Maryland, Missouri, Virginia, Arizona and California, my mother and I would make regular trips to her family historical cemeteries, ride by the land where her ancestor’s first settled, visit other historic sites as they relate to her ancestry and, of course, she would tell and retell her colonial history. She became the carrier of the oral tradition for her Spencer, Green, Vaughn and Matteson ancestry in the East Greenwich area of Rhode Island.
My mother would talk about her three years of education at the R.I. School of Design during the Depression and gave me many of her art pieces that I had professionally framed. Collectively, Brenda, my sister-in-law, my sister, Deardra, and I wrote down Mother’s comments about each art piece and Mother labeled this project “Putting Stories to the Pictures”.
I wrote her memoirs and began the work on the five websites, spencersofeastgreenwichri.org, straightspencerhistoricalcemetery.org, spencerhistoricalcemetery.org and vaughnhistoricalcemetery.org , mostly from my conversations with her during the last ten years of her life. We often worked together on outside research to substantiate her oral tradition and the many old genealogy papers that she had inherited.”