John J. (Jack) Spittler, born on the northwestern plains of Nebraska November 9, 1918, passed away March 21, 2018 at Alexian Village, Signal Mountain, Tennessee
Jack attended Wayne State and Columbia Universities, and graduated from the University of Nebraska with a Bachelor of Science degree then joined the Army Air Force, subsequently serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force. Transferring to the U.S. Navy in January, 1941, he was assigned as Ship & Aircraft Recognition and Personnel Officer on the staff of the first Fletcher class destroyer squadron commissioned. The nine ship squadron was assigned to the Pacific theatre, and only three finished World War II either sunk or damaged. The squadron mission was "Detect, Identify, Neutralize".
As combat veteran participated in 13 major battles. His ship USS Nicholas was declared the most highly decorated fighting ship in Naval history, received Presidential Unit Citation and was granted by Admiral “Bull” Halsey the high honor of transferring Japanese dignitaries to the battleship Missouri for signing of the peace treaty ending World War II. He also had collateral duty on USS Obannon, Taylor, Hopewell and Fletcher.
Jack held numerous awards and commendations including the Bronze Star for valor; Commendation Ribbon; and Asiatic Pacific Theatre ribbon with 16 battle stars. Post war decorations and services included Honorary Admiral of Texas, Georgia, Nebraska and New Mexico Navies, Colonel and aide-de-camp of Tennessee Governor’s staff, and joint resolution from the Tennessee House of Representatives and Governor for public service; the coveted Four Chaplin’s Award for extensive community services; and Life Time Achievement Award from the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Upon discharge from the Navy, Dec. 1945, he matriculated at The Ohio State University earning both Bachelor of Law and Juris Doctors degrees. He and his wife, Mary Jane, raised their four children in Upper Arlington, Ohio where Jack was involved in coaching, PTA, and fund raising for the public schools.
An avid sportsman, hunter, and fisherman he served for nine years on the board of the Athletic Club of Columbus, Ohio, president of The Touchdown Club of Columbus, Golden Bears, and was co-founder of numerous clubs and organizations.
He was life member and International President of the Navy League participating in International meetings with the King of Spain and the President of Mexico in anti-communist efforts; Member of the Columbus, Ohio, West Palm Beach, Boca Del Rey, Florida, and Chattanooga Councils; Navy League nationally; DAV; The Ohio State and Nebraska Alumni Associations; Athletic Club of Columbus; Delta Theta Phi Legal Fraternity; Delta Tau Delta Social Fraternity; Freedom Foundation of Valley Forge; Heritage Foundation; and Paul Harris Fellow Rotary. He also held The Ohio State University Centennial Year Certificate of Commendation of the University First Century; and member of the Board of Directors of Chattanooga State Foundation.
He and his beloved wife, Mary Jane Brannon, whose two paratrooper brothers General Pat and Captain Charles Brannon gave their lives for their country, had been married sixty- one years at the time of her death. His parents, John B. and Dessie Huston Spittler, his brother King Spittler and his son in law Bill Freutel preceded him in death. His father, also a lawyer, had been an associate of William Jennings Bryan.
Jack and Mary Jane had resided in Norfolk, Virginia; San Francisco, California; Columbus, Ohio; Coral Gables and Boca Raton, Florida; and Signal Mountain, Tennessee. He is survived by their two daughters MariJayne Freutel of Columbus, Ohio and Cozette Mitchell of Signal Mountain; two sons, John Jr., and James in Miami; daughter-in-law Macarena Spittler; son-in-law Dr. Allen Mitchell; eight grandchildren; and twelve great-grandchildren.
Services will be 11:30 a.m. at the Alexian Village Chapel followed by internment in the National Cemetery with military honors.
Contributions may be made to Alexian Village of Tennessee, 437 Alexian Way, Signal Mountain, Tennessee, 37377, designated for the "Mary Jane Spittler Healthcare Scholarship Fund". This endowment was started by Jack in memory of his loving wife in 2005. At the time of his death the foundation had financed over 250 healthcare aspirants and is designed to accumulate for Alexian Brothers healthcare training activities in perpetuity.