Local Dentist Killed in Plane Crash Remembered as Dedicated Oral Surgeon


Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County — “Really nice guy. It’s a tragedy.” Dr. Alex Frederick reflected Wednesday on the life of 69-year-old fellow dentist James Specter of Shavertown. “He was very knowledgeable. He was very, very good at what he did.”

Dr. Specter’s career and life came to a tragic end Tuesday during a fishing trip. A floatplane carrying him and nine others crashed during takeoff in southwestern Alaska. “He’s been around airplanes and he’s been a sportsman his whole life,” said Dr. Frederick whose father, Donald, founded Frederick Dental Group in the 1970s on South Main Street in Wilkes-Barre. They considered Dr. Specter a family friend who even though had surpassed the age of retirement, didn’t seem to show signs of slowing down. “I think he just enjoyed doing it and like I said it’s a shame. It’s a shame they’re are going to be absolutely problems in the area trying to fill his shoes.”

For decades, Dr. Specter worked at Oral Surgery Associates in downtown Wilkes-Barre serving the community. “He was a big workhorse. He saw a lot of people and helped a lot of people out,” said Dr. Frederick who added that meant sometimes even helping patients of Frederick Dental Group. “He was very open to us to bring x-rays over, even come over here and look at something for us and figure out what would be the best solution for the patient.”

William McDonald of Wilkes-Barre was to be a first time patient of Dr. Specter. “I was supposed to be here next month and I heard it today.” The man formally of Tennessee turned his thoughts to the victim. “I hope the best for his family. That’s all I can say.” For Dr. Frederick, it’s a painful reality of life that he feels personally and professionally. “You just never know when that’s it. It’s sad.”

Dr. Specter was not at the controls when the plane crashed killing him and two other men. Seven others including the pilot survived. The NTSB is investigating what caused the fatal wreck.

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