Father John (Jack) Spicer, son of Frank and Josephine (O’Brien) Spicer, was born in
Edmonton August 24, 1919 and died peacefully on Jan. 31, 2014. John grew up near
Grande Prairie with his six siblings and attended St. Joseph’s separate school and high
school. For six months, he worked as a grocery clerk in Grande Prairie before attending
St. Mary’s College, the Redemptorist preparatory college at Brockville, ON, in 1937.
Entering the Redemptorist novitiate at Saint John, NB, he professed first vows on August 2, 1938 and studied at St. Alphonsus seminary, Woodstock, ON, where he was ordained on June 20, 1943.
As his first appointment, Fr. Spicer returned home to St. Joseph’s, Grande Prairie, (1945-1946) and was assigned the parish’s outmissions. To learn Polish for pastoral care in Western Canadian, he attended National Seminary in Orchard Lake, Michigan (1947-1948). After a short assignment of the outmissions at St. Gabriel’s parish in Athabasca (1948-1949), Fr. Spicer was transferred to Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Calgary, (1949-56), where his interest in adult education began. Establishing 16 groups for study of Sacred Scripture, he developed written guides and discussion outlines on the texts of the Gospels.
Educating Catholics on the Scriptures became his cause and he continued this theme in
three successive appointments as pastor at St. Gerard’s, Yorkton (1956-1959), St.
Alphonsus parish, Edmonton, (1959-1964) and St. Mary’s, Saskatoon, (1964-1967).
For six months in 1967, he was appointed acting Provincial Superior for the Edmonton
Province. A year later, he started a 34-year assignment for the Archdiocese of Edmonton (1968-2002). He served as the director of the first Adult Learning Commission in Canada, writing and teaching extensively, preparing scripture series covering the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and John as well as for television and video. During those years, Fr. Spicer produced more than 40 publications and recordings. As well, Fr. Spicer’s regular columns were published in the Western Catholic Reporter. Under his leadership, he brought in renowned speakers for ScriptureFest and seminars and organized an educational library for the Edmonton commission and consequently educated thousands of Catholics on the Scriptures and on the changes as a result of Vatican II. Fr. Spicer also served on the National Board for Adult Education (1986-1992). Retiring in 2002, he lived at Villa Marguerite in Edmonton.
Over the years Jack made it a point to further his knowledge of Scripture by taking summer courses and leading pilgrimages to the Holy Land.
He will be fondly remembered by his remaining sisters and many nephews and nieces as well as his Redemptorist confreres and the many friends and people he inspired by his lectures and writings.
Vigil prayers and memories will be celebrated Tuesday, February 4, 7:30 p.m. and Mass of the Resurrection will be celebrated Wednesday, February 5, 10:00 a.m., both at St. Alphonsus Church, 11828-85 Street, Edmonton. Interment will take place at Holy Cross Cemetery.