John H. “Jack” Spitler, 83, died Jan. 31, 2020 at his home in Belmond. Mass of Christian Burial was held Feb. 4 at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church. Burial was at St. Francis Catholic Cemetery near Belmond.
John Harold “Jack” Spitler, Jr. was born June 24, 1936 to John Sr. and Marie (Christenson) Spitler in Belmond. He was raised on a farm west of town, attended country school, and graduated from Belmond High School with the Class of 1954.
Following graduation Jack worked for Joe McLaughlin at the Skelly gas station in Belmond, hauled and shelled corn for Elmer Johnson, hauled livestock for Faye Withers, and worked in the shop at Followwill Implement north of Belmond, all of this while farming, his lifelong passion. In addition to grain farming he also raised cattle, dairy cows and hogs for a number of years.
Jack was united in marriage to Mary Ann Lager at St. John’s Catholic Church in Clarion on Oct. 5, 1957. The couple made their home in rural Belmond where they continued to farm until Jack retired in 1993 following a heart attack. He continued to help Paul and Missy with the family farm, and even rode in the combine this past harvest season. Jack and Mary Ann moved into town in 1996.
In addition to his life’s work, Jack loved spending time with his family, especially his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, whether at nap time on his lap or in attending their activities. They always referred to him as “Pa.” The family enjoyed many memorable camping trips to northeast Iowa over the years, which included trout fishing expeditions with Mary Ann while searching for unknown creeks off the beaten path. Jack and Mary Ann also spent several winters in Florida together.
Jack was a long-time member of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church. He mowed the church cemetery for several years, a labor of love and a source of great pride.
Jack is lovingly remembered for his kind and selfless heart, along with a dash of ornery teasing and the twinkle in his eye.
He was preceded in death by his parents; a baby sister in infancy, grandchildren Dusty Spitler and Afton Spitler; parents- in-law John and Esther Lager; and son-in-law Kevin Ketchum.
Jack is survived by his wife, Mary Ann of Belmond; children Patricia (Mark) Fisher of Clarion, Marcia Ketchum of Belmond, and Paul (Missy) Spitler of rural Belmond; grandchildren Christian (Mandy) Fisher and their son Thayden; Erik (Emily) Fisher and their children Ian, Adeline, Quinn, Tate and Tegan; Nikki (Matt) Olson and their children Lilly and Noah; Mark (Katie) Ketchum and their children Cooper and Charli and Kylie and Emma Cox; Hunter Hiscocks, Jayden Spitler, Katelyn Spitler and Sydney (Court) Christianson.
The family suggests memorials be directed to Belmond-Klemme Scholarship Foun- dation II, P.O. Box 2, Belmond, 50421.