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Harold D. Spears
Friday, February 10, 2012
6:00 PM until 9:00 PM
Phillips Funeral Home
1004 S. 7th St.
Ironton, OH 45638
Saturday, February 11, 2012
First United Methodist Church
101 N. 5th Street
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|The Honorable Harold Dupuy Spears, 92, passed away February 8, 2012. He was born February 9, 1919, in Ironton, Ohio, the son of the late George Spears and Margaret Dupuy Spears.
Harold Spears, a product of Ironton High School, graduated from Marshall College, now Marshall University, Magna Cum Laude, in 1941 and accepted an academic scholarship to Duke University School of Law. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, he entered the U.S. Navy, was commissioned as a Lieutenant and served the first half of WWII in the North Atlantic on convoy duty aboard a destroyer-escort. For the second half of the War his ship, the USS Bull, was refitted for advanced invasion duty and re-stationed to the Pacific Theatre where Lt. Spears participated in battles at Iwo Jima, the Phillippine Islands, Okinawa and Luzon, and received a Letter of Commendation as Gunnery Officer for valor during the invasion operations at Luzon where his fire control of 40mm battery resulted in the destruction of an enemy suicide plane diving at his ship. Following the War, Lt. Spears returned to Duke Law School, where he met and married Wanda White of Charlotte, North Carolina. He graduated from Duke Law School with a JD in 1947, and returned to Ironton to enter the private practice of law.
From 1953 to 1961, Mr Spears was elected and served as Prosecuting Attorney for Lawrence County. Together with Sheriff Carl Rose, Prosecutor Spears waged a campaign against gambling, vice and activities of the "Syndicate"(mafia), and tried numerous murder and felony cases without an assistant prosecutor. Three of those murder cases were subject of stories published in National Detective Magazines
From 1961 to 1964, Harold Spears served as Lawrence County's Probate Juvenille Judge, his popularity and integrity being such that he was the only probate judge ever elected by "write-in" vote. As Probate Judge, he caused the courtroom to be remodeled using penitentiary labor to reduce cost; initiated micro filming process for Probate Court records; presided over the first jury cases in Probate Court; received a Certificate of Award for service to youths from the National Association of Deputy U.S. Marshals(1962); served as a Chairman fo the Volunteer Services & Rehabilitation Committee of the Ohio Mental Health Association(1962); and served as President of the Lawrence County Bar Asociation 1962-1963.
Judge Spears returned to private practice in 1964, forming Currie, Moore & Spears, later establishing his own private practice, and in 1978 was joined by son David R. Spears to form Spears and Spears.
After more than six decades of service to the law and community, Judge Spears was recently awarded the prestigious Ohio State Bar Foundation's Honorary Life Fellowship Award given in recognition of a life's work exemplifying integrity, honor, courtesy and professionalsim. His acceptance speech can be viewed at YouTube "Harold D. Spears".
Judge Spears volunteered his time in many other civic and church activities, including participation in the original organization of Ironton Little League Baseball and served as its original Vice President; Ironton Lions Club President 1952-1953; Member of Masonic bodies including Knight Templar& Shrine; Ironton Tiger Clan President 1968; Board of Trustees Ironton Country Club; Grand Marshall-Lawrence County Memorial Day Parade1968; member of the Navy League and established the observance of Navy Night Memorial service; member and trustee of the finance committee of First United Methodist Church; and Sunday School class teacher since 1950.
In earlier years, Judge Spears played in local baseball and softball leagues, enjoyed tennis and golf, and especially loved the joy of competition and fellowship. He strove to achieve, he answered the call of duty for his country, believed in justice for all, loved his family, and placed his trust and faith in the Almighty Father.
Judge Spears is survived by his lovely and loving wife Wanda, sons David Richard Spears and his wife Sue of Ironton, Harold Craig Spears and his wife Teri of Charlotte, North Carolina, daughters Joan Marie Spears Halcomb and her husband Joseph of Camarillo, California, and Margaret Spears Asef and her husband, Keith of Alpharetta, Georgia.
He is also survived by nine grandchildren, Christen Spears Hignett and her husband Kyle of Columbus, Ohio, David Matthew Spears of Ironton, Allison Halcomb Fessenden and her husband Jim of San Diego, California, Alyssa Halcomb of San Diego, California, Hallie K. Spears, David C. Spears and Alexander W. Spears all of Charlotte, North Carolina and Madison Nicole Asef and Carter Keith Asef of Alpharetta, Georgia, and his six great-grandchildren; Reese Fessenden, twins Autumn and Brit Fessenden, Jillian Fessenden, and twins Braden and Elise Hignett.
A memorial service will be held at First United Methodist Church, 101 North Fifth Street, Ironton, OH, on Saturday, February 11, 2012 at 11:00AM with Dr. Wayne Young officiating. Burial will follow in Woodland Cemetery. Visitation will be Friday from 6:00-9:00PM at Phillips Funeral Home, 1004 South Seventh Street, Ironton, OH. The body will lie in state one hour prior to the services on Saturday at the church. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the First United Methodist Church, the Ohio State Bar Foundation, 1700 Lake Shore Drive, Columbus, OH 43204, or to any area Hospice or Palliative Care.
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