James Francis Specht, was born to John Nicholas and Helen Mary (McNeil) Specht on October 21, 1930 on the family farm. He was premature, weighing only 4 lbs. with a severe case of jaundice he fought on. He was placed in a shoe box and kept warm on a cob stove. He was tough from the start. He attended school at Maryhill through the 8th grade and then attended and graduated from Wilson High School in 1949.
He Joined the Air Force in 1952 where he was an E5 Staff Sergeant aircraft and engine mechanic. He served during the Korean War in flight air refueling. He spent a year in England and had the pleasure to meet the Queen. He also spent a year stationed in Greenland. He returned home inactive duty reserve to help his family with the farm.
In 1958, he met his wife, LaDonna Kramer at the Tomahawk Skating Rink where he worked. Jim was an excellent skater and even went to a training facility in Colorado.
From their marriage five children were born: Tammy Baker of Meriden, Theresa Specht of Colorado Springs, CO, John Specht of Cherokee, IA, Linda Specht of Cherokee, IA, and Nancie (Brian) Heithus of Milford, IA; 12 grandchildren, John Green, Amber Riordan, Christle Baker, Jesse Specht, Sunshine Grueber, Dakota Brown, Michael Specht, Josh Specht, Ben Specht, Brandon Heithus, Heather Harmon, and Savannah Heithus; and 18 great-grandchildren.
In 1960 he built and ran the Caravan Inn Motel and Caravan Country Kitchen. Jim was a great cook. He would often say “we fed some and fattened a lot!” All you can eat buffet for $2.25. Jim was a master carver of beef roast and ham. He greeted each customer with a friendly smile.
Jim and his brother Morley sold the business in 1980 and continued to farm the Specht family land. Jim also worked at Barry Johnson’s machine shop welding. He drove cars for Rasmussen Ford, worked at Fridley Movie Theatre Cleaning for 23 years. He was a busy man He would say “if you slow down you grow old.” He cooked and flipped pancakes for the flight breakfast for years with his brother.
Jim loved the community, especially his friends at Fareway. He deeply loved his family and always said “I love you” followed by “I mean it.” He loved all creatures including family pets throughout the years including all the ones five children could bring home. Generations of deer, always with twins fed in the yard. After all they did get movie theatre popcorn for 23 years. He also had a yearly garden. Fox, woodchucks, and eagles, and the occasional mountain lion would travel through.
Jim last resided with his wife at Careage Hills. He was known for his kind words and beautiful singing voice. Jim will be remembered and missed by so many.
Greeting him in heaven are his parents, infant sister, brother Morley and so many loved ones both family and friends.