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James “OJ” Norman Speltz, 70

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James “OJ” Norman Speltz, age 70 of Lawler, died Friday March 10, 2023, at MercyOne New Hampton Medical Center.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 15, 2023, at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Catholic Church in Lawler, with the Rev. Nick Radloff and Deacon Jim Zajicek celebrating the Mass.

Interment will follow at North Lawler Utica Township Cemetery.

A Celebration of Life will also follow at the Starlight Ballroom in Lawler on Wednesday.

Friends may greet the family from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 14, 2023, at the church. Visitation continues Wednesday, an hour before the Mass at the church.

Hugeback-Johnson Funeral Home & Crematory has been entrusted with OJ’s arrangements. Online condolences for the Speltz family may be left at

OJ was born Dec. 15, 1952, at St. Joseph Community Hospital in New Hampton, the son of Norman “Red” and Marie (Woods) Speltz. He was a graduate of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Grade School and Turkey Valley High School.

One of his first jobs was working for Bob Arens at the Lawler Oil Co., where he began his lifelong priority of being a good guy to know. Continuing his mission in life while working for Fred Carlson at Fred Carlson Co. Inc., he INDEED made many good friends.

OJ was forced into retirement due to health issues which led to his biggest and best adventures in friendship as he grew out his beard, rustled up his spectacles, red suit and black boots for lots of long days and nights where he delighted in having kids from all around the county sit on his lap and tell them what they wanted for Christmas. 

In earlier years, he served as Uncle Buck to many of his nieces and nephews coming to their parent’s rescue often. In his last years of progressively poor health, his nieces, nephews and their children were his biggest fans keeping in touch with phone calls, pictures and visits to his home.

One of OJ’s greatest qualities was how much he loved to give. Giving was much more important to him than receiving. He loved the joy on people’s faces when he could do something to help them out.

If you were lucky, sometimes you’d catch him strumming a tune on his guitar, singing along with his favorite country music, or daydreaming about being a cheese and hotdog eating cowboy. 

His Hospice nurses — Miss Kitty, Pearl, Vanna — and many others, gave him a 70th birthday party complete with a red cowboy hat and 70 hotdogs in the shape of a birthday cake. Our family thanks them for their care and friendship — along with Jen, Judy and Joe, Tim and Steve who were invaluable as caretakers when he became homebound.

Survivors include his three brothers, Steve SpeltzJoe Speltz, Tim (Deb) Speltz, all of Lawler; seven sisters, Connie (Paul) Deeny of Charles City, Cathy (John) Lechtenberg of Bettendorf, Norm (Dave) Creighton of Des Moines, Jenny (Bob) Mikota of Sigourney, Mary (Bryan) Mikota of DePere, Wisconsin, Theresa (Brian) Jirak of Peidmont, Oklahoma, and Rose (James) Armstrong of Goodyear, Arizona; 28 nieces and nephews; and close to 50 great-nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Red and Marie Speltz; his grandparents, Kitt and Ray Woods and Marie and Ben Speltz; sister-in-law, Mary Speltz; nephew, Bill Paul; as well as many aunts and uncles.


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