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SPACEK, RUDOLPH BENJAMIN, SR.

Rudolph Benjamin Spacek, Sr., (1884–1963).
State legislator Rudolph B. Spacek served in the House of the Forty-seventh through Fifty-third Texas legislatures. Courtesy Legislative Reference Library of Texas and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

SPACEK, RUDOLPH BENJAMIN, SR. (1884–1963). Rudolph Benjamin Spacek, Sr., Texas state representative, justice of the peace, business owner, and telegrapher, was born on May 18, 1884, in Fayette County, Texas, to Frank John and Julia Anna (Glöckner) Spacek. Spacek grew up in Fayetteville and was fluent in both the Czech and German languages. He attended Hill’s College in Waco after high school graduation and took classes in telegraphy. Spacek then worked at several train depots in Texas, including Bartlett, Coupland, Granger, La Grange, Lorena, Taylor, Temple, and Waco. In the early twentieth century, he returned to Fayetteville and purchased a millinery shop. Spacek married Minnie Forres on May 29, 1906, in Fayetteville. They had five children and were members of the local Catholic church.

Spacek and his wife moved to Granger and opened a general store, but poor economic conditions left him discouraged, and he sold the store, and the couple returned to Fayetteville. Spacek took advantage of the better economic climate in Fayetteville and pursued a number of opportunities, including partnering with a tailor, selling real estate and insurance, and becoming justice of the peace. During World War I, Spacek was head of the local chapter of the Red Cross and served on the Fayetteville school board. 

From 1941 to 1955, Spacek, a Democrat, served seven consecutive terms (the Forty-seventh through Fifty-third Texas legislatures) in the Texas State House of Representatives. He represented District 66 (Fayette County) for six terms and District 46 (Colorado and Fayette counties) during his last term. He served as chair for the committees on Aeronautics, Judicial Districts, School Districts, and Enrolled Bills and as vice chair of the Education, School Districts, and Enrolled Bills committees during his terms as state representative. In the Texas House, he was called “Bull Frog” and was known for his perfect attendance. In 1941 Spacek introduced a constitutional amendment to provide furnishings of free textbooks to all school-age children. He furthered conservation efforts in Fayette County by limiting the hunting of bullfrogs and squirrels and by making it “unlawful to take, hunt, shoot, kill, or attempt to take, hunt, shoot or kill any wild deer, or wild turkey” for a five-year period in Fayette, Washington, Lee, Burleson, and Calhoun counties. 

Spacek received an honorary Lone Star Farmer’s Degree from the Texas Association of Future Farmers of America in appreciation of his legislative and local service. He also helped establish vocational agricultural courses and an accredited high school in Fayette County. In 1943 Spacek authored an amendment to Article 1939 that required county clerks to provide records of members who served in the Armed Forces and Armed Force Reserve of the United States of America since 1916. Throughout his years serving in the House, he helped many young men with their education by providing part-time employment in the legislature.

Spacek passed away on November 26, 1963, at the Colonial Rest Home in Schulenburg, Texas, and was buried in the Fayetteville City Cemetery.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Colorado County Citizen (Columbus, Texas), December 5, 1963. Legislative Reference Library of Texas: Rudolph B. Spacek (http://www.lrl.state.tx.us/legeLeaders/members/memberDisplay.cfm?memberID=1238&searchparams=chamber=~city=~countyID=0~RcountyID=~district=~first=~gender=~last=spacek~leaderNote=~leg=~party=~roleDesc=~Committee=), accessed December 4, 2016. Irene Polansky, “Rudolph B. Spacek, Fayetteville Solid Citizen,” Footprints of Fayette (http://www.fayettecountyhistory.org/footprints4.htm#spacek), accessed December 2, 2016.  “Rudolph Benjamin Spacek, Sr,” Find A Grave Memorial (http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=61433154), accessed December 2, 2016. Shiner Gazette, February 13, 1941. Weimer Mercury, July 23, 1954.

Stephanie Spacek Tower

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Handbook of Texas Online, Stephanie Spacek Tower, "Spacek, Rudolph Benjamin, Sr. ," accessed October 17, 2017, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fspac.

Uploaded on March 21, 2017. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.