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James McCrea Speelman, 90 of Grants Pass, OR died Oct 7, 2021.
Jim was born on July 5, 1931 in Ontario, OR., the sixth of nine children to Luther Delbert
Speelman and Vera Grace Bentley Speelman. Jim grew up in Ontario working in the hay and
sugar beet fields, the livestock sale yard, and the old Ontario Meat Company.
Jim, who was never fond of school, quit high school when he was 16, to work full time at Ontario
Meat Co., and provide for his widowed, invalid mother and two younger brothers.
In 1953 Jim eloped, and married Lillian Janet Lucas of Vale, OR., and soon after was drafted
into the US Army. As an experienced butcher and meat cutter, Jim entered the Army Food
Service Cook School where he finished second in his class. Jim served in the Army as a cook
and meat cutter, and during that time was blessed in Nov 1954 with daughter Janet, the first of
his four children.
In 1955, Jim left the Army, worked briefly in the logging industry in Myrtle Creek, and then just
prior to the big flood, moved to Grants Pass to join the workforce at Alpine Meat Company.
Alpine was actually an island, during the flood, and the crew had to use a rowboat to get to
Jim worked steadily at Alpine until he was laid off in 1978, and began working for Copeland
Sand and Gravel, where he retired from operating their rock crusher in 1994. In 1979 Jim, with
son Joe, leased Alpine Meat Co., and later purchased the company, and along with the rest of
the family operated the company until selling the property in 2004.
Jim continued to partner with Joe, operating their Custom Butchering truck, and delivering
animals to various meat companies for processing until his passing. Jim was 90 years young,
His greatest joy was always to be working with his family.
As a younger man Jim loved to run the mountains with his hounds hunting racoon, bear, bobcat,
and others. He was also a skilled archer, and bagged many deer and elk with his bow. He loved
his old Quackenbush recurve! Jim also enjoyed rock hunting, and cutting rocks with his rock
Jim was preceded in death by his wife of 65 years, Lillian, who died in 2019. He is survived by
his children Janet (Joe) Peters, Dan (Diane) Speelman, Joe Speelman, and Roy (Jacki)
Speelman. Grandchildren, Amanda (Jason) Harwell, Adam (Sheila) Johnson, Sarah Buck,
Denver Speelman, Eli Haught, Chase Haught, and Madeline Speelman. Numerous great
grandchildren and a great great granddaughter.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Federation of the Blind.
Celebration of Life will be Nov 6, 2021 at 11:00 at Jerome Prairie Bible Church, 2564 Walnut
Ave, Grants Pass, OR 97527. Food to follow.
Saturday, November 6, 2021
Starts at 11:00am (Pacific time)
Jerome Prairie Bible Church
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