Picayune Item’s Super Senior: Jack Spiers

Published 1:13 am Sunday, September 11, 2011

Jack Spiers was chosen as this week’s Super Senior for his love of family, learning, and philosophy that “every human being is in a ‘stage’ of life; make it the best.”

At 81-years-young, Spiers is a member of First United Methodist Church in Picayune, which he has attended since 2002 (when he moved to Picayune). He maintains the records and grounds at the McNeill Cemetery which falls right in line with his love of genealogy. He also writes, and has just begun speaking publicly on the “legs murders,” which he has researched and written about.

He believes that any community cemetery is a reflection of the community.

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He says, “My two great grandfathers are in the McNeill Cemetery. They had nine sons and two daughters. Eight of the sons went to the Civil War and one son-in-law went with them. Remember that was in the time when you just didn’t go to the grocery store for food. Families needed boys to help with the crops and protect the homesteads from raids. I found that two sons and the son-in-law died in the war.”

His daughter, Celeste Spiers Yanes, says, “My father is the family genealogist. He has cleared up a lot of inaccuracies.”

Spiers says, “You’ve got to get involved; you must find your passion.”

Spiers grew up in McNeill and moved back to Picayune, from New Orleans, La., to escape hurricanes. This was before Katrina and he remembers that day (like so many others) quite vividly. His memories are featured in this weeks Writer’s Corner.

Spiers was married for “50 wonderful years and a few months” to the love of his life and had two daughters: Janet and Celeste. He lost both his daughter Janet and his wife to ovarian cancer.

Spiers has four grandchildren, three of whom are in college. He says, “You are not going to get old without taking horrendous hits. Life is about problem solving and education is about learning to solve problems. Today I look at not what I lost but the beauty in my daughter that remains and my grandchildren that I have.”

When he isn’t e-mailing family to catch up, he is either reading one of his three newspaper subscriptions (to keep current), writing, working cryptograms, solving soduko puzzles or watching a DVD lecture. He loves technology and especially computers.

Yanes says, “Dad doesn’t fear the changes; he embraces them. He is not ‘set in his ways.’

Spiers is not a fan of television but especially not reality shows.

“I go back to the early days of computers when the saying was ‘garbage in / garbage out’ and the same is true for your brain. I think most of those reality shows are fakes out there but then you have shows like ‘Undercover Boss;’ that show is uplifting to watch and fits into the type of show I look for. I look for things with values,” he says.

When asked what statement would sum up his life philosophy, he says, “I don’t believe in the ‘bucket list’ and never have. I have no regrets or loose ends; I make today count.”