August 30, 2017 at 11:43 am EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Women’s events organizer Spruell dies at 66
Wanda "Woo Woo" Spruell, gay news, Washington Blade

Wandra ‘Woo Woo’ Spruell died at age 66.

Wandra “Woo Woo” Spruell, a legal secretary at the American Bar Association in Washington, D.C., for more than 20 years and an organizer of women’s events associated with D.C.’s Black Pride celebration, died Aug. 15 from complications associated with a heart attack, according to her friend and colleague Michael Stratton. She was 66.

Stratton said Spruell played an active role in D.C.’s black LGBT community in past years, focusing on social events for women during the early years of Black Pride.

A biographical write-up distributed at a memorial service for Spruell on Aug. 25 says she and her friend and business partner Willette Griffin founded and operated the WW Connection, an events organization that hosted women’s parties and other events for more than a decade. The write-up says the events were held along the East Coast from New York through the Carolinas.

Stratton said Spruell also worked as a bartender at the Bachelor’s Mill bar during the 1980s when it was located in its original building on Capitol Hill that’s now the home of the Banana Café.

Spruell was born and raised in Alexandria, Va., where she excelled academically at Charles Houston Elementary School and graduated from George Washington High School in 1968, the write-up says.

She entered the workforce after attending a trade school and later began work at the Communications Department of the American Bar Association.

“Wandra loved to travel domestically and internationally, play the slots at casinos and cook for family, friends and anyone who was in need of a home cooked meal,” the biographical write-up says. “She was a lifelong fan of the Washington Redskins through their good and bad seasons,” it says.

“Her larger than life personality attracted her to people from all walks of life which explain the host of adopted children who she welcomed, consoled and cared for with open arms,” the bio says. “Her smile and distinctive laugh could warm the coldest of hearts.”

It says she “rededicated her life to Christ” at the House of Praise Church in Northeast D.C. and spent her later years “as a prominent figure volunteering her time, heart, spirit and culinary skills whenever she was needed.”

She is survived by her life partner, Carolyn Thompson; her son, Damien Spruell; daughter, Kimberly Griffin-Muschette; sisters Della Nesbitt and Kathy Griffin; brothers Shawn Griffin and Mark Christin; and numerous other loving relatives and friends, the write-up says.

A memorial service was held Aug. 25 at House of Praise Church. She was interred at Cedar Hill Cemetery in Suitland, Md.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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