When speaking with Jim Springer, two things quickly became clear to me. Jim has a strong passion for Waynedale and he cared deeply for his clients at Springer Law Office.
Jim shared countless memories, most involving places I wasn’t familiar with. Growing up on Elzey Street, he served as a bat boy for the Waynedale Jr. Daisies Baseball Team and played hockey in the pit behind Prairie Grove. He fondly remembered the free shows behind Waynedale Elementary School plus winning a 1st Place trophy in a basketball contest at Maumee Valley Saddle Club Jr. Horseshow. Jim spent 10 years setting pins at Smitty’s Bowling Alley (formerly across from Kroger) and caddied at Orchard Ridge Country Club. In 1956, his player won 10th place ($1,270) during the Fort Wayne PGA at the Elks. Jim’s 10% cut allowed him to purchase his first car, a 1947 Chevy hump back, plus paid for six months insurance.
Jim reminisced about the circus that set up at the ball diamonds at Waynedale Elementary School and the carnies that came into Sprandle’s Drug Store. He swept floors at Barret’s and cleaned the grills at a restaurant that later became AL’s. It was evident that Jim has always been a worker.
Springer went to Waynedale Elementary Kindergarten through 7th grade, then Elmhurst 8th to 12th. Following that, he attended Purdue University in Fort Wayne, received his BS from Valparaiso University and completed Valparaiso Law School obtaining his JD, Juris Doctorate degree.
Jim spent 52 years in the law field. He served as a Deputy Prosecutor from 1970-1976 then practiced General Practice Law until 2005 while sharing an office with other attorneys. In December of 1988, Springer Law office was established when he moved into the Venderly Home, 7111 Old Trail Rd, next to Gillespie’s Grocery, now known as Frecker Optical. Associate, Gerret Swearingen, joined the firm in 2010 and Jim narrowed his practice to elder, probate, trust and estate planning. For the past 16 years, Jim’s mantra was to help clients obtain the best financial and caregiving assistance “without losing the farm.” The firm has always been supportive of Waynedale events including the Taste of Waynedale, the Waynedale Picnic along with the Waynedale Business Chamber.
He was inducted into the Indiana State Bar Hall of Fame in 2004 due to his dedicated service to clients, the community and the legal profession. Jim was co-founder of the Indiana State Bar Association SOLO and small firm conference 19 years ago, one of top three such conferences in the nation, and also was a recipient of their founder’s award. Jim received the Rose Peterink Volunteer of the Year by the Alzheimer’s Association for handling over a dozen guardianships for people who were not competent to do so on their own.
On April 1st, 2020 Jim retired from active practice. He partnered with Sprunger and Sprunger Law Offices with offices in Berne, Bluffton and Portland and is providing one year of counsel to Sprunger Elder Law. Their new office is just down the road at 6710 Old Trail Road.
Bill Churchward encouraged Jim to become active in the Lions Club in the early 1990’s. Jim sponsored the Shoes for Kids fundraiser at Waynedale Elementary School and planted trees at Waynedale Park among the many good deeds the Lions Club has accomplished. In 2018 Jim was awarded a Melvin Jones Fellowship of the Lion’s Clubs International Foundation.
Jim and his wife Judy have been married 30 years. Jim is blessed with two daughters and two granddaughters, one stepson, two step granddaughters and three step great grandkids between them. They are active members of St. Matthews Lutheran Church. Jim used to do a lot of bowling and played bridge, but now golf is his game of choice. He has had some health challenges along the way and said he was strongly influenced by the book “The Purpose Driven Life” that he read while rehabbing after heart surgery.
Jim may hold a record for the number of times he marched in the annual Waynedale Memorial Day parade. Three times as a Cub Scout, three as a Boy Scout, one as an Explorer Den leader, three as part of the Elmhurst Marching Band and six times as a member of Waynedale Lions Club. Always active in scouting, Jim co-founded the Law Explorer Post and served one year as Anthony Wayne Council Exploring Chairman. Additionally, he was a Brotherhood Member of the Order of the Arrow.
Next time you are enjoying breakfast at Rich’s and run into Jim, be sure and ask him about cleaning up the Waynedale drive in and helping to transport the Bethany Lutheran Church organ to the top of the concession stand where he worked two years as a popcorn boy! It’s another one of his stories rich in Waynedale history.