James Spieler was a community leader, philanthropist

Tuesday, March 25, 2014 | 4:46 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — James Russell Spieler Sr. of Columbia died Friday, March 21, 2014. He was 76.

Mr. Spieler was born on Dec. 10, 1937, in California, Mo., to Herbert Spieler and Florence Butler Spieler. He was the youngest of three children.

Mr. Spieler attended California High School. He graduated from MU in 1961 with a bachelor's degree in business administration and marketing.

He married Audrey Schalk on June 11, 1960. They were married for 53 years and had two children.

He worked in development and legislative relations for MU and the University of Missouri System for 11 years. In 1977, he brought TravelHost magazine to central Missouri. He served on the TravelHost Executive Council for nine years, and served as its chairman for four and a half years. He received the Omni Award for Excellence at their annual convention in 1988. He left his owner and publisher role at the magazine in 1996 to establish Columbia Visitor Guide Map.

Mr. Spieler helped established the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau and served on its advisory board for eight years. He was a trustee of the Boone Electric Community Trust and a member of the Chambers of Commerce for Columbia, Jefferson City and the Lake of the Ozarks. He was also a member of the Rotary Club and received several Paul Harris Fellow designations.

Mr. Spieler is survived by his wife, Audrey Spieler; two children, James R. Spieler Jr., of Kauai, Hawaii, and Leslie Ann (Spieler) Winn and her husband, Rick, of Columbia; one grandchild, Jackson Winn of Columbia; a brother, Richard H. Spieler and his wife, Jane, of California, Mo.; and a sister, Marthann (Spieler) Buck, of St. Louis; as well as several nephews and nieces.

Visitation will be held at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Broadway Christian Church, 2601 W. Broadway. Services will follow at 11 a.m at the church. His ashes will be interred in the church's Memorial Garden later that afternoon.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Rotary International Polio Plus program; the Central Missouri Food Bank, 2101 Vandiver Dr. Columbia, MO 65202; and Broadway Christian Church, 2601 W. Broadway Columbia, MO 65203.

Tributes can be left online at

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