Francis J. Spellman, retired Star Herald reporter, dies

Francis J. Spellman, Sr. of National Park, who reported on news of the Diocese of Camden for more than a decade, died on Dec. 13. He was 86 years old.

Mr. Spellman began working for the paper as a staff writer the same year  of Pope John Paul II’s first U.S. visit, and he travelled to New York to cover the pontiff’s U.N. address.

He continued to write news, features and parish profiles at the paper until his retirement in 1990.

Previously he worked with the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Gloucester County Times. Star Herald collegues thought of him admiringly as a “true old school newspaper guy,” who used to wear out computer keyboards because he continued to strike the keys as hard as he would the keys to a manual typewriter.

He was known for his sense of humor and liked to joke about the time he visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York and was treated like royalty — after an usher learned his name and wrongly assumed he was a relative of New York’s Cardinal Francis J. Spellman.

A U.S. Army veteran of WWII, Mr. Spellman was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for distinguished service. A long time member of St. Matthew Parish, he was a familiar face at 10:30 a.m. Mass, where he served as usher for 58 years.

Mr. Spellman read history constantly and loved to do crossword puzzles and garden.

Mr. Spellman is the beloved husband of 61 years to Rosemarie B. (nee Schmidt); father to Francis J., Jr. (Jean), Patricia Naddeo-Cavallero (Michael), John (Sandy), Michael (Kathie), Helen Flood (Jack), Daniel, Mary K. Melnychuck (Andy) and Susan Eivich (Edward); brother of  Rev. John Spellman O.S.F.S. and the late Margaret, Joseph and Peter Spellman; grandfather of 18 and great grandfather of 5.

A funeral Mass was celebrated in St. Matthew Church, National Park on Dec. 17. Interment and military honors followed at Woodbury Memorial Park, West Deptford. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to: St. Matthew’s Church, 307 Wesley Ave., National Park, NJ 08063 or to the Salvation Army, 915 Haddon Ave., Camden, NJ 08103. Tributes and memories may be shared at: www.mcgfuneral.com

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