Jay A. Spieker, 68, of rural Ackley, died suddenly in his home on Dec. 8, 2020, of natural causes. But for his three years of military service, he lived his entire live on the farm settled by his great-great-grandfather.
Jay was an Iowa farm boy to the core.
He graduated from Wellsburg High School in 1970 and began farming with his dad. He was called to serve his country in 1972 and did so in the U.S. Army with great pride until 1975. This was a time when soldiers were neither thanked nor welcomed home.
He returned to his beloved farm and resumed farming with his dad. Baseball was his other passion and, in 1977, he played third base for the state championship men's fastpitch team from tiny Wellsburg. In 1978, he married Jodie Cordes. That marriage was blessed with three children, Garth, Daniel and Anne.
Then the farm crisis of the 1980s hit. Jay's dream of farming came to an end. His marriage ended. Yet Jay soldiered on, taking a local job to be near his children. As a weekend dad, he made every experience with his children a memorable one. For example, he built a batting cage in his machine shed and pitched endless balls to them and their friends. All three were multisport athletes at Eldora. He never missed a game.
Jay was blessed with a second family when he married Deb Albright (nee Werkman) in 2008. Jay and Debra became inseparable and her daughter, Kayla, was welcomed into the fold.
Jay joined the American Legion Post 252 in Ackley, eventually becoming its commander. By now, grandchildren were arriving in three locations. They became Jay's pride and joy. He and Debra never missed a game. He spent his final years working for his son, Garth Spieker of Gehrke, Inc. He was so proud and glad to have this opportunity to share time with Garth.
Those who loved Jay should take comfort in the fact that, while he left us far too soon, he died happy. He died contented. Jay once described the perfect day as "one spent on the farm with his grandchildren." God blessed him (and them) with such a day recently. When asked whether he wished he was still farming, he replied simply, "No."
Surviving Jay are his beloved wife, Debra; sons, Garth (Jen) Spieker of Eldora and Daniel (Marcy) of Polk City; daughter, Anne (Andy) Kay of Denver, Colo.; and stepdaughter, Kayla (Jeff) Wilson of Reinbeck; gherished grandchildren are Cade and Emma Spieker, Jack, Tommy and Emily Spieker, and Kenneth and Matilda Kay. Also surviving him are his sisters, Maxine (John) Heath of Houston, Texas, and Dr. Ruth Spieker (Neil Webster) of Iowa City; brother-in-law, Charles Gustafson of Kalona; mother-in-law, Ardyne (Bob) Waters of Wellsburg; and father-in-law, Marvin (Red) Werkman of Holland. Remembering Jay with fondness are four nephews and three nieces.
Jay was preceded in death by his parents, Allen (1994) and Matilda (2003) Spieker; his sister, Jean Gustafson (2004); and her infant daughter, Erin (1984).
Jay was active in St. Peters Country Church all his life. His funeral, with full military honors, was held there on Dec. 11. Sietsema Funeral Home of Ackley was in charge of the services. A Celebration of Life will take place on the farm this summer. Please come and share your memories of Jay at that time. Wear Iowa State or Chicago Cubs attire to honor this avid fan.