Obituary: Garrison employee’s passing ‘a loss for the community’

James Allen Speraw Jr., 1955-2017

James Allen Speraw Jr., 1955-2017

James Allen Speraw Jr., a former curator at the Fort Meade Museum, died Oct. 14.

A Department of the Army civilian employee and retired service member, Speraw died of an apparent heart attack.

The Glen Burnie resident turned 62 in September.

At the time of his death, Speraw was assigned to Fort Belvoir, Va., on loan from the U.S. Army Center of Military History.

A statement was issued by Lt. Col. Darryl B. Brown, deputy director, Army Museums Enterprise Directorate, U.S. Army Center of Military History:

“During James’ many years of government service, he distinguished himself among his co-workers and supervisors with his professionalism, pleasant and enthusiastic manner with high-quality performance. He was a valued member of our team. … He will be missed.”

Speraw, who had deployed during Operation Desert Storm and to Haiti, first arrived at Fort Meade nearly 40 years ago, volunteering at the Fort Meade Museum.

Earlier this year, Speraw returned to the installation to help set up historical displays for Fort Meade’s 100th Anniversary Gala held June 14 at Club Meade. He even donned a World War I uniform at the celebration.

“He was a pleasure to work with,” recalled Mary Staab, director of the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security at Fort Meade. “He did all the things he wanted to do. … This is a loss for the community.”

On the day of his death, Speraw was checking on the residence of his brother, who was out of town. According to his sister-in-law, Speraw was in his vehicle in the driveway when he experienced severe chest pains and called 911.

Emergency Medical Services responded and transported Speraw to the hospital where he was revived but never regained consciousness.

In a heartfelt email to colleagues, Les Jensen, curator of Arms and Armor at the West Point Museum, reflected on Speraw’s expertise and passion for history, and the years they had worked together.

“Jim was not only a colleague and comrade, he was a friend and he is gone way too soon. … Jim loved military history and loved the Army, but more important, he loved the Soldiers and wanted to see them honored, not only by preservation of their stories and their histories, but also by preservation of the tools and objects they lived and worked with, and which help define their experiences.”

The viewing is Friday from 1 to 4 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m., followed by a memorial service at 7:30 p.m. at Kirkley Ruddick Funeral Home, 421 Crain Highway S.E., in Glen Burnie.

The funeral is scheduled for Saturday at 1 p.m. at St. Andrew’s Orthodox Church, 2028 E. Lombard St., Baltimore.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to one of the following: National Museum of the U.S. Army, Disabled Veterans of America, Parish of St. Andrew Orthodox Church in Baltimore, or any veterans charity of your choosing.

Also, the family requests photos, notes or stories about Speraw, which can be sent to his sister-in-law Anne at

A memorial service for Speraw will be conducted Monday at 11 a.m. at the Fort Meade Museum.

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