Father James Spexarth, a priest of the Diocese of Wichita for 62 years, died at Midland Hospice in Topeka Monday, Jan. 8, at age 88.
Father James was the great-uncle of Fr. Aaron Spexarth and the uncle of Fr. Dan Spexarth.
Private funeral services are being held by the family.
Father James Spexarth was born on Feb. 17, 1929, in Colwich to Ben J. and Katie (Doffing) Spexarth. He was one of 10 children. At age 12 he began studying at St. Meinrad Archabbey in St. Meinrad, Indiana, and was ordained on May 3, 1955, by Bishop Mark K. Carroll at Sacred Heart Church in Colwich.
Soon after his first assignment as an assistant pastor at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Wichita, he began studies at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. He was awarded a doctorate in canon law from C.U. on June 2, 1959.
After his studies, he was named vice-chancellor of the diocese and part-time assistant at Blessed Sacrament. He later served as an assistant at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and St. Thomas Aquinas before being named pastor in 1966 of St. Joseph Parish in Arma, with a mission at St. Gabriel in Mulberry.
Father Spexarth was named pastor of St. Mary Parish in Parsons in 1968, pastor of St. Leo in St. Leo in 1973, and chaplain pro team of Mt. St. Mary’s Convent in 1984. Later that year he became pastor of St. Patrick in Florence and Immaculate Conception in Burns. He retired in 1991.
Father Spexarth is survived by his brothers Ralph, Leo and Paul, all of Colwich; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, thee brothers and three sisters.