George James (Kenai Jim) Spracher


Posted: Wednesday, March 02, 2005


  George James (Kenai Jim) Spracher

George James (Kenai Jim) Spracher

Longtime Kenai resident George James "Kenai Jim" Spracher died Thursday, Feb. 24, 2005, at his home from cancer. He was 81.

A celebration of his life and a memorial potluck will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 5, at the Nikiski Senior Citizens Center. Mr. Spracher's ashes will be laid to rest with his brother in Alanreed, Texas.

Mr. Spracher was born Sept. 21, 1923, in Dustin, Okla. He attended school through the seventh grade but was proud of some college classes he took later in his life. He worked with the Civil Conservation Corps in the late 1930s and traveled with the carnivals in the early 1940s. He entered into World War II as a U.S. Merchant Marine on Oct. 5, 1943, until he was honorably discharged Aug. 15, 1945. He moved to Kenai in 1941 and also lived in Kodiak and Seward. He fished his whole life and was an Alaska longshoreman for many years until he retired in 1978.

Mr. Spracher loved hunting and fishing in his earlier years and in his later years, he enjoyed spending time with friends and playing pinochle at the Nikiski senior center.

"Dad was a man who enjoyed his life, living and dancing to his own tune. He traveled the world over and never lost his love of the sea, which he got from his years as a Merchant Marine. He loved staying up with the current affairs of his community and listening to KSRM's 'Sound Off' and adding his opinion, which is believed to be where he acquired his nickname, 'Kenai Jim,'" his family said.

"He was an old-time homesteader in the area and had many stories of those years. He was proud of his involvement in creating the union for the longshoremen here and did a lot of traveling over that, which he enjoyed very much. He had gone up and down the 'Al-Can' more times then you could imagine. One of his last accomplishments was being instrumental in helping create the Veterans Merchant Marine Memorial in the Leif Hansen Memorial Park in Kenai.

"Dad's love of music was endless, along with his memories and stories of his young life in Texas. He was a character, for sure, and will be missed."

Mr. Spracher was preceded in death by his wife, Annie (Johnson) Spracher; parents, Sherman and Bessie Spracher; and baby brother, "Jack" Spracher.

He is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Richard and Jo Walker of Nikiski; son, Jamie Spracher of New York, N.Y.; son and daughter-in-law, Edward and Michelle Spracher of Kenai; son, Rick Rowland of Anchorage; daughters and sons-in-law, Jodie and John Davidson of Seattle and Dolly and Roland Roy and Sherri and Jon Brower, all of Cedar City, Utah; grandchildren, Julie and George Derkevorkian, Tim and Sharon Walker, Alonda and Chris Tibbitts, Jason Spracher, Aricka and Faye Rowland, Jamie and Jake Davidson, Cameron, Nicholas, Dakota and Madeline Roy and Cori Anne, Jonny, Abraham, Emeline and Brooklynne Brower; great-grandchildren, Richard, Mariesha and Makayla Derkevorkian, Terra and Greg Bixenmann and Brandon Walker; great-great grandbaby, Rylee Bixenmann; brother, Joe Spracher of Georgetown, Texas; sister, Tressie Cartner of Olympia, Wash.; numerous nephews and nieces; and his Texan buddy and sidekick, Tom Holland.

Memorial contributions may be made to the donor's favorite charity.

Arrangements were made by Peninsula Memorial Chapel in Kenai.

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