Walter D. Speece

April 17, 1927 ‒ February 14, 2018

Mount Vernon, Ohio


Walter D. Speece, age 90, of Mount Vernon, Ohio passed away at Country Court Nursing Home on February 14, 2018 surrounded by his family. He was born in Harrison County, Ohio 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, Ohio 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, Ohio, 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, Ohio, Rachel Cronebaugh of Cincinnati, Ohio, Zac Hammond of Cleveland, Ohio 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, Ohio and two brothers, Don (Pat) Speece and Daryl Speece of Weirton, West Virginia. Several nieces, nephews and friends.

Walter was preceeded 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 preceeded 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, February 16, 2018 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, February 17, 2018 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, Ohio 43050.

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The Flowers-Snyder Funeral Home is honored to serve the family of Walter D. Speece.


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  • It was an honor and privilege to meet Pastor Walter Speece. He was a great man with the Joy of the Lord. He was an example of how he loved his wife and family, He touched many lives with his ministry at Nursing homes and the community. He got help for those that needed support. All of us at Hospice of Knox, of North Central Ohio appreciated getting to know him. We also appreciated his service to our country as a Veteran and his involvement with many community events. We will miss seeing him.
    We are grateful for his wonderful and supportive children and family that supported him until his final days. They truly honored him. May God’s comfort and peace be with his family.

  • It was an honor and privilege to know Walter Speece as well as his wife Virginia. His smile was infectious and his love for not only life but for his wife was something that made me smile and my heart fill with such joy. Many young men should take lesson from you Mr. Speece as to how a young man should carry himself. You touched many lives, and brought so many joy. Rest In Peace dear friend you will be missed, but are now in your heavenly home. Thoughts and prayers to the Speece family.

  • What a beautiful tribute to a wonderful man. We are thankful for the time we shared at Lakeholm Church which gave opportunity to know him. Our hearts are with you, Linda, Larry, and family. We are confident that God ever so near to comfort you.

  • Reverend Speece was such a special, man of God. I always enjoyed seeing him when he stopped to see his daughter Linda at Alliance Christian School where we both taught. And I will never forget his portrayal of a circuit riding preacher for our second graders. They were so enthralled, and so wasn’t I! Linda, I love you and your family very much, and you all will be in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Walter Speece was a Great Godly Husband, Father, Friend but to me he was my adopted praying grandpa. I will cherish our talks, prayers and fellowship.

    Prayers for the family during this time.

  • I would like to say that my life is richer for knowing Walter. Walter was one of the most caring and generous men I have ever known. His love of life, love for Virginia and his willingness to reach out to others are a few things made his life such a blessing to myself and others. I was always so amazed how Walter could remember peoples names. He spent his life serving others and he enjoyed that so much. I feel honored to have taken care of he and Virginia. Two of the most gentle souls anyone could ever know. I pray for comfort and peace for his family!

  • It was an honor to know Rev Speece, he was my first Pastor in Congo WV. We wrote letters back & forth & talked a lot. I will miss my friend, but I know he’s home with The Lord. Hugs & prayers to his family. ❤️🙏

  • Walter was a jewel in the Crown of Jesus. For years after retiring from active pastoral ministry, he became an ambassador for Christ in the nursing home facilities in Mount Vernon. Gloria and I enjoyed our times spent visiting with Walter. The Speece family are being lifted up to God in these days of both mourning for his passing but also the joy in knowing he has been welcomed into the presence of God.

    In His awesome grip,
    TJ & Gloria McNew

  • Rev Speece and Virginia were my first pastors. They helped me through a very difficult time in my life. They were wonderful, patient, caring , dear souls.
    I know that they are together again, and with their Jesus. I’m thankful that He allowed them to be my pastors and influence my life in that little church at Congo. They set the standard of what a true Christian should be.
    May God comfort their family.

  • I met Walter Speece at the Lakeholm Nazarene Church in the Agape Sunday School class. Virginia was very ill at that time and Walter would testify regarding her health and their love for Christ. I didn’t get to meet Virginia but I feel like I know her by Walter talking of her. His tears always touched my heart. But today he’s in a place where there are no tears. Praise the Lord! While there may be sadness down here on earth, Walter and Virginia are most likely singing praises to their Savior and King. O Happy Day!

    My condolences go out to Walter’s family. He has left his footprint on many lives.

  • All who knew Walter grieve his passing, but what a wonderful legacy he leaves behind! He and I had many parallels in our lives that drew us together through numerous year of ministry: both born in 1927, both married in 1947, both had wonderful wives to support our ministries, and both of us went through a period of caretaking for our companions in decline. My admiration for Walter’s “pastoral heart” is without bounds. My prayers are with you, Linda, Larry, and families. Charles McCall

  • So sorry to hear of your lost. Always enjoyed talking with Rev. Speeds when I would meet him in Uniontown to drop off Larry and when we served together on the Pittsburgh District. Truly a great man with a terrific spirit and testimony.

  • Walter and Virginia were such wonderful neighbors. I will miss seeing Walter across my front, back yard. “Rosemary can I get a sip of this or that”. His backyard is sooo beautiful, I know Virginia enjoyed her views, I know I did. I will miss him very much. Love Rosemary Wallace ( next door neighbor)

  • larry and Linda what great memories Uncle Walter has given us! The laughter around grandma Bakers dinner table, the great times in the house in Congo, the summer visits when you guys returned to Newell I would call grandma ever hour are they there yet. Uncle Walters leadership as a pastor, he always put his congregation to the forefront and led by example. Wish my fathers health was better to make the trip but know that you guys are in our hearts and prayers.

  • To Walter Speece’s family and friends,
    Walter has been a good friend of ours for a long time. He sent cards to
    us for a long time. We attended his church a couple times. We loved
    him and are so sorry to see he has gone. We know he is with our Lord
    and his wife, Virginia.
    We stopped by Country Court and visited with him one day and he
    was so happy to see us. We used to call each other on the phone.
    We all have lost a special person.
    Carol and Russell Pickering

  • It was an honor and joy to have known Walter and Virginia Speece Walter was a true man of God and he showed that love to everyone he was a friend to everyone. I am glad that i was able to hear him tell his life story of growing up and his ministry throughout his life. I feel as if he is a part of my family i will miss him dearly. His family will always have a special place in my heart may God be with you during this time and rest in his peace that we know Walter has run the race and fought a good fight and has heard the words well done thy good an faithful servant.

  • I’m another friend of Walter’s.
    I actually met him on the phone & we talked about the Bible for a lengthy time. I am one of Jehovah’s witnesses & Walter always seemed so happy when I called him.

    We compared biblical views & many things, but we were both respectful of the right to have our own beliefs.
    We came to find out one day that we both know some of the same people. We’d laugh & carry on like it was a big thing. Lol

    I will miss Walter, he’s a fine man!

    Rita Miller

  • Dear Linda, Cory, Larry and family,

    Your loss is felt sincerely in my heart today. I know what it means to lose a wonderful, godly father. Walter’s heart always resonated with my heart because I sensed the presence of the Holy Spirit with him. He really walked with God. I knew that he really prayed. He was a witness to me that you can age gracefully and sweetly. And also because he loved children and always mentioned my grandson Nic as one of his buddies. 🙂 I can only hope to be more like him in the Lord as I get older.

    May the Lord now bless you with the “peace that passes all understanding.” The last and not least gift that your Dad gave you is the confidence that he is now absolutely safe, with your Mom, and free from all suffering. That makes it a good grief.

    Friend in Christ,

    Terrell Sanders

  • It was an honor to call Walter my friend. Walter was an active volunteer in Lakeholm’s Dare to Care ministry. We meet on Monday nights to call, send notes and pray for our Lakeholm family. Walter would always come with a list ready of people he was praying for. He was a true prayer warrior and had a pastors heart. He will be missed.

    Ed and Dawn Thomas