Jim Spainhower

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Jim Spainhower
James I. Spainhower.jpg
39th State Treasurer of Missouri
In office
January 8, 1973 – January 12, 1981
Governor Kit Bond (1973-1977)
Joseph P. Teasdale (1977-1981)
Preceded by William E. Robinson
Succeeded by Mel Carnahan
Member of the Missouri House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born (1928-08-03) August 3, 1928 (age 88)
Stanberry, Missouri, USA
Spouse(s) Joanne (Steanson) Spainhower
Children Two
Alma mater Phillips University
Lexington Theological Seminary
University of Missouri
Profession Politics

James Spainhower (born August 3, 1928) is a U.S. Democratic politician from Missouri. He served four terms in the Missouri House of Representatives and two terms as the Missouri State Treasurer.[1]

Early life[edit]

Jim Spainhower was born in Stanberry, Missouri, the youngest of fourteen children. He attended in elementary school in Stanberry, and attended Maryville High School in Maryville, Missouri, graduating in 1946. Following graduation from high school, he attended Phillips University in Enid, Oklahoma, earning a bachelor's degree in history in 1950. Three years later, in 1953, he earned a bachelor's degree in divinity from Lexington Theological Seminary. On June 10, 1950, he married the former Joanne Steanson of Ponca City, Oklahoma. The couple has two children. Prior to entering politics, he worked as an ordained Disciples of Christ minister, serving pastorates in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Marshall, Missouri, Bosworth, Missouri, Mendon, Missouri, Grand Pass, Missouri and Oakland, Missouri. He received his master's degree from Phillips University and his PhD in Political Science from the University of Missouri, as well as numerous honorary doctorates from colleges and universities throughout the country. Jim's brother, John Spainhower, a long-time coach and athletic director at Kirksville High School is a member of the Missouri Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame.[2]

Political career[edit]

From 1963 to 1970, he served in the Missouri House of Representatives, where he was a member of the House Appropriations Committee and Chairman of the House Education Committee. During his tenure in the state legislature, he also earned master's and doctoral degrees in political science from the University of Missouri. In 1972, he was elected as State Treasurer of Missouri, and served from 1973 to 1981 in that post. Unable to seek a third term in 1980, he was an unsuccessful candidate for Governor, losing the Democratic Party nomination to incumbent Joseph P. Teasdale.

Spainhower threw his hat into the ring for the special 1976 Democratic primary for U.S. Senate after the initial winner Jerry Litton was killed while flying to the victory party. Spainhower lost to Warren Hearnes who garnered 63.3% of the vote.[3] Hearnes lost the general election to John Danforth.

Later career[edit]

Following his tenure as State Treasurer, he held the posts of President of the College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri, President of Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri and President of the Division of Higher Education for the Disciples of Christ denomination. After retirement he and his wife moved to Rogers, Arkansas, where he served as interim pastor at several churches in Bella Vista, Arkansas, Harrison, Arkansas and Bentonville, Arkansas. He and his wife currently[when?] reside in Raymore, Missouri.


  1. ^ Missouri State Treasurer-Past Treasurer's Biography
  2. ^ "Hall of Fame members". Missouri Football Coaches Association. Archived from the original on 2011-09-28. Retrieved 2011-05-29. 
  3. ^ "MO US Senate - D Replacement Nominee Race - Aug 21, 1976". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2011-12-24. 
Political offices
Preceded by
William E. Robinson
Missouri State Treasurer
Succeeded by
Mel Carnahan