James W. Spicer

March 02, 1931 ‒ October 28, 2019

Mount Vernon, Ohio

James W. Spicer, age 88, of Mount Vernon passed away peacefully at his home on Monday, October 28, 2019.

Jim’s legacy was one of love. He cared deeply for his family, friends, players and students. He had a smile and a kind word for everyone he met. He lived his life with passion and selflessness; always generous with his heart, his time and his talents. He was always grateful for a wonderful life.

He was born on March 2, 1931 in Philo, Ohio to the late Charles and Ruth (Frazee) Spicer.  Jim was a graduate of Muskingum College and received his Master’s Degree.  He was a Teacher, Guidance Counselor and Coach for numerous High Schools, including Clear Fork H.S., Centerburg H.S., and Mount Vernon H.S.  Jim also coached at Kenyon College for numerous years.  He was a veteran serving in the United States Navy from 1950-1954.

Jim is survived by his wife, of over 67 years, Stella (Madias) Spicer; his daughters, Denise (Mike) McGough, Paula Spicer (Art Wagner); thirteen grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.

In addition to his parents, James was preceded in death by his daughters, Pamela Spicer-Kirk, Darla Watkins; his brother Gilbert Lease; and his sister Lena Ashcraft.

Friends may call on Sunday, November 3, 2019 from 1:00-3:00PM at the Dowds-Snyder Funeral Home (201 Newark Rd. Mt. Vernon, OH 43050).  A service will be held on Monday, at the First Church of the Nazarene (807 Coshocton Ave. Mt. Vernon, OH 43050) beginning at 11:00AM with Pastor Marvin Haught  officiating.  Burial, with military honors provided by the Knox County Joint Veteran’s Council, will follow in Mount Vernon Memorial Gardens Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Salvation Army or to Mount Vernon High School Athletics.

To send the family a condolence online visit: www.snyderfuneralhomes.com

The Dowds-Snyder Funeral Home is honored to serve the family of James W. Spicer.


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  • Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire family during this most difficult time, Jim was a very special man and we will miss him dearly.

  • I was sorry to learn of the passing of your dad. Take comfort in knowing he lived a good life and now he is with the Lord and your sisters. You will be together again in God’s time. Hugs to you!

  • I am so sorry to hear of the loss of Coach. Muriel & I always looked forward to visiting with him & Stella when we were back in Mount Vernon. I had the greatest respect for Coach and enjoyed being around him and him showing me his beautiful yard and flowers.

  • Our hearts are breaking, please accept our prayers and sympathy for the loss of
    this gentle man who was a teacher, a friend and a coach to so many.

    Our love to the entire Spicer Family

  • Thoughts and prayers are with your family first entire family. Coach Spicer was a great person who was always someone I deeply admired as a family first kind of man. He was a strong personality but he truly cared about the kids he worked with.

  • Thoughts and prayers to the Spicer family. It was always enjoyable to see Coach Spicer and his warm greeting and great smile.
    His impact on many in our community will be long-lasting.
    May great family times and memories bring you comfort at this sad time.

    Vickie Marra
    Roger Marra

  • I am so sorry to hear of Mr. Spicer’s passing. He was a “gentle giant” to me in my school days and there were many times throughout my life that I thought of the lessons I learned from him. My condolences to Mrs. Spicer and family. May God wrap his arms around all of you during this sad time.
    Shirley McDonald Blair

  • Sorry to hear of the passing of Mr. Spicer, he will be fondly remembered by all who ever knew him. We were lucky to have teachers and coaches like Mr. Spicer! My prayers to the family.

  • Dear Spicer family, so sorry to hear of Mr. Spicers passing. He truly lived a wonderful life. A good man and a good neighbor. Hugs from the Rothermund-Chopeks

  • My sincere condolences on the passing of Mr. Spicer. Keeping all who loved him in my heart, thoughts and prayers.

  • Dear Stella & girls,

    My deepest sympathy on the passing of Jim. He was always so kind to me when we worked together at MVHS. I have very fond memories of him and he will be missed. RIP, Jim!

  • Stella & family: We only lived across the street from you for a short time but Theo loved going to your house. And- sharing Dr. Peppers. Jim was a grandfather figure to us and we just adored him. We are so very sorry for your loss. Theo loved working in the yard with Jim and visiting with you and Jim. Our prayers are with you. May God bless you.

  • So sorry about your dad Denise. I know you all had a special relationship. Remember the great times. Prayers and hugs to all of you.

  • Jim Spicer was such a great man. I have always admired he and Stella’s marriage. Still held hands and smiled like newlyweds. He made such a positive impact on so many lives. He will be missed. Prayers for Stella and her family during this time.

  • Spicer family, I am so sorry for your loss. Jim was a special man who when I was with him made me feel special. Sadly missed.
    Love Teresa

  • Our deepest and most heartfelt sympathies to the Spicer family.
    Coach Spicer was just simply a wonderful person and will certainly be missed.
    Both he and Stella were treasured friends of our family for years.

    Kathy, Marty, Greg and Lori (Ramsey) Riggs

  • Dear friends and family, Please accept my deepest sympathies for your loss. Jim was a fine man and a beloved colleague. I have fond memories of our days at MVHS. Please be comforted by the support of a community that shares this loss. Peace and love.

  • Dear friends and family, Please accept my deepest sympathies for your loss. Jim was a fine man and a beloved colleague. I have fond memories of our days at MVHS. Please be comforted by the support of a community that shares this loss. Peace and love.

  • Stella, Denise and Paula,
    I am so sorry to hear about Jim. Thinking of you all.

  • All our love and prayers go out to Stella and girls. Jim was a good example of love and character for his family. A great Christian. Always ready to help anyone in need.He lived his life like God wants all of us to live. Never judge just help. My love goes out to my sweet sister Stella and the girls.And when you plant a flower be sure to thank him for making this a beautiful world to live in.

  • I can just say “ditto” to all of the wonderful comments above because Jim was a very special, kind man, I loved working for him and Stella, and Mike and Denise. They were like extended family. I am still reeling with shock to learn of his death. My deepest sympathies are with his beloved wife and family. I pray God will hold them close at this sorrowful time. RIP, Jim, See you on the other side! Hugs, Love, and prayers for all who loved him, Mabel Weller.

  • I remember Coach Spicer as a firm…but fair…person who positively influenced many lives. Those of us who had the good fortune to cross his path…whether as a student, an athlete, or a simple goof-off…were the fortunate ones. He inspired us to excel and was truly a role model for us to emulate. GOD SPEED, COACH!

  • Such a sweet, kind man but also a great Coach. Condolences to all of the family. Fond memories of him when he was at Clear Fork. Love and prayers.

  • Mrs Spicer, I remember Jim from the career center, he was always smiling and such a nice man. May your memories of your time together bring you comfort. Deepest sympathy. Kim (Henry) Roberts

  • Dear Stella, My deepest and sincerest sympathy and condolences go out to you with the loss of Jim. I saw him at Southside Restaurant a few weeks ago, and his thoughts were first and foremost with you as we talked. You both are lifelong friends whom I treasure dearly. With Love and Prayers, Dick Gordon

  • Stella and family:

    Please accept condolences from a former student of MVHS ‘62. My memories of your husband are vivid as he always was smiling and served as a role model to us all. Just think of the lives he touched (and enriched) during his long career as a teacher and coach. I’m hoping your faith is strong and your friends and family close. God Bless you all……Sincerely, Sally Tanner

  • The MVHS Class of 1990 offers our condolences to Jim’s family. I personally remember his kind and caring spirit while counseling students. In the past year, I ran into Jim on another occasion where he was giving food to someone in need. Many, many people were blessed by Jim.

  • My condolences on the loss of Jim. What a kind, passionate and loving man. I have many great memories of working with Coach and always admired him. He was a great model for me in so many ways. I will keep Jim and your family in my prayers. God Bless.

  • My sincere condolences to the Spicer family. Coach Spicer taught us players not only about football but about life, focusing on hard work and dedication. He deserves so much more than my inadequate words can express. —Tom Todd MVHS ‘62

  • Stella and girls. Us Wilson girls would come to your house to get our hair either cut or you would do our hair for the ptom. There would be times when Jim was there and he would tell us how pretty we looked. He had such kind words. Our granddad Tommy Thomas and Uncle Dick Thomas had such admiration for Jim and a teacher and coach. Jim will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. The Wilson Family

  • Lifting the family in prayer.
    Seeing Coach at our 50 year hi school reunion with his infectious smile was rewarding.

    He will be missed

    Carl Pursel class of 62

  • Denise, Mike and family,
    I am so sorry to hear of Jim’s passing. You are all in my thoughts and prayers. I got to know Jim when he worked for First-Knox National Bank. I always enjoyed our talks.
    Melissa Ridgway Baker

  • WOW! So DEEPLY sorry to hear of Jim’s passing … our condolences to Stella, Denise, Paula and families.
    Jim was a WONDERFUL friend for many years, so happy our son Joel was able to experience Jim’s great coaching not only a sport but how to live life with “toughness, but also compassion and directions”.
    A truly GREAT MAN who will be missed by many.
    Dick/Nancy Laslo

  • I am very sorry to learn of Jim’s death. I have many happy memories of him as “Pam’s dad”. I loved catching up with him and Stella when I visited Mt Vernon. He was a great support to both of my parents during their final years. He treated everyone with such respect and kindness and loved his family so very much.

    I will always picture him riding his lawn mower around the neighborhood with a big smile on his face!

    Peace be with all of you.

  • Sincere condolences for the Spicer family. Wonderful memories of them, as Stella was my junior Cosmetology instructor in 1972. Prayers for all.

  • Our deepest sympathy and friendship to the Spicer and Madias families, Although we did not know Jim that well, he always had a smile for us when we would meet him. The messages above are proof positive of the legacy he leaves. May the fond memories sustain his family and friends through this sad time. Sincerely, Susan (Nash) and Dick Huggins/Fredericktown

  • My heart is broken. Uncle Jim’s love for all was so evident in his daily life and how he interacted with every soul. I always felt safe and significant when in his presence. He’d say “how’s my girl?” My heart melted every time. May his legacy of love for life live forever through his children and their children. Uncle Jim touched so many hearts. Mine was one of them and I’ll never stop loving him.

  • So sorry to hear of Jim’s passing. I met Jim more than 40 years ago when I worked at the Mount Vernon News ( I covered the education beat and girls sports). He was a great guy who will be missed by many. Thinking of you and sharing in your loss.

  • Jim was a sweet man. I will miss him tremendously. He was one in a million. He had such a great heart and a kind word always to say. I will miss seeing him every week when he would come in the restaurant. Always asked me. How is my girl. Give me a hug and kiss . such a great man. He will be missed by many . my thoughts and prayers are with Stella and the rest of his family.
    Love ya. Jim

  • Sorry to hear the passing of my favorite track coach during my high school days and neighbor. He really help me to be a better track runner which I have won many 440 and 440 relays. . He always had a wonderful smile and he will be truly miss.
    Stephen Rentz
    Class of 1965

  • Dear Stella and family,
    I worked in the MVHS office, enjoyed the time with Jim, also remember the restaurant
    and store you had. He was a busy, well liked gentleman.
    My sympathy, Kathryn Williams

  • The world lost a great Man, coach, mentor when Coach Spicer left. But his mark has been left on many many people. He will be missed, but always remembered by many. I wish I could tell of the humorous stories he left with me!!