Irene Spencer currently lives in Anchorage, Alaska with her husband of 19 years, Hector J. Spencer. During the 28 years of her first marriage to a polygamous husband, Irene gave birth to 13 children (all single births). She additionally adopted a newborn girl, who became her ninth child.
Irene has 118 grandchildren and 37 great-grandchildren. She travels extensively with her husband throughout the United States and Mexico visiting her numerous family members. Among her many talents, she is an accomplished seamstress, a great cook, is fluent in Spanish, and has traveled to 23 foreign countries and 23 states speaking on polygamy and related issues.
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- Author of SHATTERED DREAMS: My Life As a Polygamist Wife
- Born into 4th generation polygamist family
- Married at age 16 to her brother-in-law Verlan LeBaron (July 3, 1953)
- Moved 25 times, (twice to the same home). Lived in 23 homes in 3 different countries (U.S.A., Mexico, Nicaragua)
- Gave birth to 13 children between the years 1954 and 1973. Children’s current ages range from 34 to 51
- Mother to 7 boys 7 girls --- one adopted child.
- 58 total children in the Verlan LeBaron family. 49 of the 58 children are alive today.
- 12 of the 14 children birthed by Irene are still living today. Her first baby, Leah died at birth. Daughter Sandra died in 2000 of breast cancer.
- Currently has 119 grandchildren with more expected.
- Currently has 37 great-grandchildren with more expected.
- Of the 12 children birthed by Irene, 5 live in the USA and 7 live in Mexico. The other children fathered by her husband Verlan LeBaron live throughout the United States and Mexico.
- Of Irene’s 9 sister wives, 9 are still living and still have contact with Irene, mostly at weddings and funerals.
- In 1985, Irene became a grandmother 3 times in 1 day when 3 of her daughters, living in 3 different states, gave birth within an hour of each other; and then, on the same day, one of Verlan’s sons became a father.
- In 1992, two of Irene’s daughters again gave birth on the same day, and both named their daughters Irene! This brought the number of grandchildren named after Irene to six…she must have done something right!
- In 1993, when Irene’s granddaughter Nikki was born, a large article ran in the Anchorage Daily News: “Woman celebrates birth of 58th grandchild”. At that time, Irene’s oldest grandchild was only 12 years old! Twelve years later, Irene had exactly 58 more grandchildren for a total of 116. Today she has 119 grandchildren and more on the way! Irene likes to tell people, “we don’t have a family tree, we have a family forest!” There are approximately 40,000 to 60,000 practicing polygamists today in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
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