MOUNT VERNON — Walter D. Speece, 90, of Mount Vernon, passed away at Country Court Nursing Home on Feb. 14, 2018, surrounded by his family. He was born in Harrison County on Easter Sunday, April 17, 1927. Walter was the son of the late Laymon and Dolly Speece and the grandson of the late Ira and Nora Brewer. Granddad Ira became a strong pattern for Walter’s life.
In Walter’s early years he knew what it was to be a share cropper, put up hay, build a chicken coop at age 12, haul logs, and work for $3.00 a month. When he was 18, he joined the Navy. This was toward the end of World War II. He spent time immediately following the war guarding Japanese prisoners on Guam. After coming home, he settled in the East Liverpool area and began working at Homer Laughlin China Company, in Newell, West Virginia.
Walter met his wife, Virginia, while employed at the Homer Laughlin China Company. At lunch time, she would be sitting with her mother and Walter would always wave. Virginia’s mom would say, “Who is that man?” to which Virginia would reply in her shy way, “Oh, I don’t know.” Walter and Virginia were married on June 7, 1947, at 7 minutes till 7 p.m. Walter pastored churches in: Imperial, Pennsylvania; Congo, West Virginia; Monaca, Pennsylvania; Greensboro, Pennsylvania; Bruceton Mills, West Virginia; Spencer, West Virginia; and Masontown, West Virginia. During his retirement years, he has lived in Mount Vernon, Ohio. Walter’s years in ministry began in 1959, and although he retired he never really stopped being a pastor. His heart was to reach out to hurting people. Even during Virginia’s years and even his years in a nursing facility, he touched the lives of many residents and staff.
Walter is survived by his children, Linda Swinderman- Cronebaugh of Mount Gilead, and Larry (Nancy) Speece of Mount Vernon. Three grandchildren, Cory (Rachel) Swinderman of Chrisman, Illinois, Nicole Speece of Phoenix, Arizona, and Jason Speece of Mount Vernon. Four step-grandchildren, Jason Cronebaugh of Parma, Rachel Cronebaugh of Cincinnati, Zac Hammond of Cleveland, and DJ Hammond of Mount Vernon. Three great-grandchildren, Carter and Emma Swinderman of Chrisman, Illinois and Zoey Hammond of Mount Vernon. One sister, Dorothy Rosnick of Rayland, and two brothers, Don (Pat) Speece and Daryl Speece of Weirton, West Virginia. Several nieces, nephews and friends.
Walter was preceded in death by his wife of 68 years, Virginia Speece; his brothers, Brady Speece and Burl Speece; and three sisters, Mable Speece, Nora Rachel Shreves and Shirley Speece. He was also preceded in death by two sons-in-law Rev. Tom Swinderman and Dave Cronebaugh.
The family will receive friends from 5-8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 16, at the Flowers-Snyder Funeral Home, 619 East High St., Mount Vernon. There will also be visitation an hour before the funeral service celebrating Walter’s life. The celebration service will be at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 17, at the Lakeholm Church of the Nazarene where he was a member, 16001 Glen Rd., Mount Vernon, with his daughter, Rev. Linda Swinderman-Cronebaugh, grandson, Rev. Cory Swinderman, and Rev. Scott Sharpes officiating. Burial will follow in Mount Vernon Memorial Gardens with full military honors provided by the Knox County Joint Veterans Council.
Memorial contributions can be made to Knox County Foundation Hospice Fund, P.O. Box 309, Mount Vernon, OH 43050.
To share a memory or send an expression of sympathy to the family, please visit www.snyderfuneralhomes.com.
The Flowers-Snyder Funeral Home is honored to serve the family of Walter D. Speece.