Wayne Ellis Specht was born October 30, 1932, to Arthur Specht and Mabel (Swihart Specht) Ritchey, in the same house in which his father was born, in Ragersville, Ohio. In 1943, Arthur sold the original farm to a coal company and moved his family to the current Specht farm northwest of Dover. Wayne loved growing up on a dairy farm and developed the no-nonsense work ethic he would display his entire life.
Known to his childhood friends as “Shorty,” Wayne graduated in 1950 from Dover High School, where he enjoyed singing in the choir, serving as a class officer, and playing sports. After high school, Wayne attended The Ohio State University College of Agriculture, graduating with a degree in dairy science. He married his high school sweetheart Janet Weisgarber in 1952. They were married for 54 years, until Janet preceded him in death in 2006.
After graduating from Ohio State, Wayne’s ROTC commitment sent him, Janet, and daughter Sharon to Fort Worth, Texas, where he climbed to the rank of captain in the U.S. Air Force. Their son Steve was born in Fort Worth in 1956.
The sudden passing of his father sent Wayne, Janet, and their children back to Dover, where Wayne became a full-time dairy farmer. He named the farm Trealayne Holsteins, and he bred many outstanding registered Holstein dairy cattle. Wayne was named an Outstanding Young Dairyman by the Ohio Dairy Herd Improvement Association.
Wayne was known as a leader in agriculture circles. He served as the secretary of the Ohio Holstein Association, as a member of the Ohio State Agricultural & Technical Institute Dairy Advisory Committee, as Master of Winfield Grange, and as president of the Landmark and Farm Bureau Boards of Directors and of the Tuscarawas County Holstein Club. Active in the District 3 Holstein Association, Wayne was co-chair of the first Harvest Hills Holstein Sale. His leadership in these organizations was only surpassed by his 32 years of service in the Farm Credit system as a director on the Cambridge Production Credit Association board and then Farm Credit Mid-America board in Louisville, Ky.
Wayne was a voracious reader and a lifelong student of history. A longtime patron of the Dover Public Library, he kept up with current events, reading every newspaper and magazine he could get his hands on. He never stopped collecting books, often asking his grandkids to order him the latest new releases! Wayne was a long-time member of St. John’s United Church of Christ where he had served as an Elder and usher.
Preceding Wayne in death were his parents, Arthur and Mabel; his first wife Janet; and his second wife Kathryn “Kay” (McGinness) Specht, whom he married in 2010.
Wayne is survived by his daughter Sharon (Larry) Rohrer, his son Steven (Michele) Specht, and his sister Grace Bochsler, all of Dover; his brother Glenn Specht of Massillon; grandchildren Hannah (Ryan) Steiner, David (Crystal) Rohrer, Allison (Matt) Jaynes, Annie (John) Specht-Duym, and Adam Specht; and 5 great-grandchildren Seth, Cole and Graham Steiner, Nora and Leah Rohrer. He will be missed by many extended family members and friends.
A private service for his family will take place on the farm and burial will take place in Dover Burial Park.
Wayne’s family would like to thank the staff of Cleveland Clinic Union Hospital and Community Hospice Truman House for the wonderful care he received in his final days.
In order to honor the memory of Wayne, the family request that contributions be directed to Community Hospice Truman House, 716 Commercial Avenue SW, New Philadelphia, Ohio 44663 or the Dover Public Library, 525 North Walnut Street, Dover, Ohio 44622.