Celebrating an Extraordinary Man - Al Specker.
Ora Alfred Specker, 91 of St. Joseph, died Wednesday, July 10, 2019. O.A. "Al" Specker, as he is better known to all, was born March 5, 1928 on the family farm in rural Odessa, Missouri to William and Effie Specker.
He was one of eight children and attended a one room country schoolhouse through his early years before graduating Odessa High School.
Specker was always a self-starter and driven, becoming the first in his family to attend and graduate college, earning a BS degree in Agricultural Education from the University of Missouri in 1950.
In college, he joined the Alpha Gamma Sigma agriculture fraternity and remained active throughout his life with friendships forged at school. A leader on campus, he was responsible one year for Ag School's big Barnwarming dance, and President of Farmer's Fair, which at the time was larger than Mizzou Homecoming today.
A proud supporter of the black and gold, his beloved alma mater, he remained active with the St. Joseph Missouri Alumni Association, including serving terms as President. In 1980, Specker was honored as a recipient of the prestigious University of Missouri Faculty-Alumni award for his accomplishments in professional life and service to the University.
His first job out of college was a vocational agriculture teacher at Archie, Missouri high school. In Nov. 1951 he was drafted into the Army, a result of the Korean conflict.
Specker taught Non-Commissioned Officers leadership after graduating basic training. He also attended Artillery Officers Candidate School and was among a special group of officers to view the firing of an Atomic Bomb outside Camp Desert Rock, Nevada.
After the Army, Specker worked for Sinclair Oil Co. in Cedar Rapids, Iowa while dating Dorothy Carl of Independence, Missouri.
In 1954, they married and after a short time in Iowa, accepted a position with Anchor Serum Company in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Specker moved his family to St. Joseph in 1961 while employed by Anchor Serum Company (now Boehringer Ingelheim) where he contributed to the organization's growth until his retirement over three decades later through responsibilities directing sales, and ultimately Vice President of Marketing for Boehringer's extensive animal health product line.
The summer of 1980 represented the saddest period in his life, losing his first wife 'Dottie' in a car accident. Strong support from family, friends and community was very appreciated.
In 1984, he married Betty Moles and shared the next 35 wonderful years together.
In addition to his loving wife, Betty Moles-Specker, he leaves three children through his first union: Stephen Carl Specker, (Kim) of Overland Park, Kansas, Stanton Alfred Specker (Julie) of Leawood, Kansas, Kimberly Suzanne Feagins (Mike) of Fort Scott, Kansas; and seven grandchildren, Suzanne (Vince), Sarah, Lauren (Connor), Courtney, Kyle (Megan), Jason, Samantha; and two great-grandchildren.
Through his marriage to Betty, he leaves William Edward Moles, Jr. (Elizabeth) of Virginia Beach, Virginia, Susan Gail Lininger (Philip) of Kansas City, Missouri; and five grandchildren ,Bridgett, Brandon (Erin), Katherine, Megan, Tyson, and five great-grandchildren.
Specker was preceded in death by: his granddaughter, Kristyn Suzanne; brothers, William Arthur, Everett, Aaron, Carl Lee; sisters, Margaret Tye and Helen Adamson.
He is survived by: his brother Archie Specker (Chris) of Odessa, Missouri; and many beloved nieces and nephews.
Specker was very active in the St. Joseph community as a founding member of Eastside Rotary, later receiving the distinguished Paul Harris award for service. Active in Chamber of Commerce, President of Stonecrest Homeowners Association, and past member and President of Ashland Avenue Methodist Church Administrative Board. Specker also valued his affiliation through his extended service on the Board of Director's at Midwest Federal Bank for 25 years.
Farewell Services 10 a.m. Thursday, Meierhoffer Funeral Home & Crematory. Interment Floral Hills Cemetery, Kansas City, Missouri.
The family will gather with friends 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Meierhoffer Funeral Home & Crematory. In lieu of flowers the family request donations to Mount Tabor Methodist Church of Odessa, RR 1, Box 46-1A, Odessa, Missouri 64076
As published in the St. Joseph News-Press.