John Anthony Stoeffler, Sr; aka Jack, Dad, PopPop, Uncle Jack, Old Man; aged 88 years 8 months, joined his parents, August and Mathilde Stoeffler in heaven on February 9, 2022. He left this world surrounded by family, love and music.
Born in Diedelsheim, Germany on June 9, 1933, Jack and his parents left Germany in 1934 due to the political climate. He grew up in the Philadelphia area where his parents ran a mom & pop grocery store and butcher shop. Jack graduated from St. Joseph’s College with a bachelor’s in pre-law.
Jack met Rose Marie Windfelder, the love of his life in 1954. A few weeks before passing he shared the story of how he met. “I asked her to a dance, and she said she was going into a convent. I wrote to her, but she never got the letters. A friend who was a janitor got the letters and gave them to her. I was at a dance with another girl and saw Mom come in and said, ‘I have to go’”. Obviously she did not go into the convent. Rose and Jack were married June 9, 1956. He was devoted to her for 65 years and 8 months. He will continue to watch over her as his surviving spouse.
Jack was drafted into the Navy in January 1956 as a seaman apprentice then went to OCS. He was a supply officer and in addition to various sea duties/tours, he spent 9 months in Vietnam during the Tet Offensive where he worked with the Seabees. He was responsible for feeding 900 military personnel per day. Although many denied honor to these heroes as they returned home, Jack was a proud Vietnam Veteran. His Vietnam Vet hat was daily wear. We are grateful for all the strangers who acknowledged and thanked him for his service. He was a lifetime member of the VFW, Bedford American Legion, and Bedford Vietnam Veteran’s Association.
Lieutenant Commander Jack Stoeffler retired after 20 years in the Navy. Jack then worked another 20 years for the PA Department of Welfare as a systems analyst. We didn’t know what he did, but it allowed his family to remain in New Cumberland.
As a side gig and hobby, Jack taught ground school aviation and was a certified flight instructor for many years at Capital City Airport in New Cumberland. His children will always remember him flying them on yearly birthday flights in the Cessna 150, N23465.
Upon retirement from the state, Rose and Jack embarked on new adventures – traveling full time in an RV with their greyhounds. Jack drove the Bounder across the country and beyond – with trips to Alaska, Nova Scotia, Maine, Florida, and many states in between. After 10 years, they decided they needed roots and chose Bedford, PA to call home.
Jack was an incredible father, Dad, Daddy to his children and their spouses. He often spoke about how blessed he was and loved his sons in law and daughters in law as his own children (some would argue more). Continuing to honor his life are his children: John Stoeffler, Camp Hill, PA; Mike (Dawn) Stoeffler, James Creek, PA; Roseann (Keith) Milliken, Edgewater, FL; Mary (Stan) Jones, Lancaster, PA, Maggie (Bill) Murdoch, Steinhatchee, FL; and Chris (Dzenita) Stoeffler, New Cumberland, PA.
Dad truly enjoyed his children. When Mom was out, a favorite game was “Urgie Gurgie” where all the lights were turned out and he hid, growling “urrrgggiiieee gggurggiie” when it was time to find him. The game ended with us all screaming and running to the safety of the other end of the house. When playing in the ocean, he held us on the Styrofoam surfboards until the perfect wave came along. In the winter, he took us sledding, always giving us a huge push on the toboggan, making us fly down the hill. Even an old parachute provided hours of fun for all of us as we would puff it up and duck under it, trying to be last touched by the fabric. He loved adventures and took the younger kids on yearly trips to amusement parks, staying in nice hotels and riding roller coasters with them. He also had a kind and caring side – taking care of sick kids, putting warm or cool washcloths on our heads, cleaning puke buckets, changing the TV (no remote back then) and preparing Hot Toddies.
With so many kids, there are bound to be GRANDchildren, as he referred to them. PopPop will be fondly remembered for his generosity, humor, and adventures by Fallon (Chris) Morey; Sara Brian; Sean Murdoch; Mick Stoeffler; Daniel Murdoch; Thomas Stoeffler; Alison Milliken and Made Stoeffler. He also is survived by two great grandchildren: Gabriel and Spencer Morey. The GRANDS rarely escaped his presence without a “handshake” – a way to pass money he learned from another wonderful PopPop.
He is survived by his sister-in-law Kathryn Yost, who joined Jack and Rose on many of their travels and was a support to them in innumerable ways. He shares a special bond with his brother-in-law, John aka Bud (Maggie) Windfelder – a Vietnam Veteran as well. Bud and Jack shared many stories of their times in the military – often ribbing one another on their branch of service.
Although he stole their noses and threatened to throw them in the brickle-bush, he will be missed by his special nieces and nephews: Tim (Liz) Yost; Donna Yost; Amy (Pat) Murray and Dan Windfelder. He also loved the children of the nieces/nephews: Matthew, Katie, Michael, Charlotte, Meghan, Finn, and Jane.
Quick with a story, pun, or joke (you often didn’t know which until the end of it), Jack never met a stranger. He was kind to a fault. He loved to talk, tell stories and laugh. His smile was infectious and will be missed. We are all pretty sure that there was a line behind him at the Pearly Gates as Dad stopped to tell St. Peter stories. Heaven’s gain is our loss.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Baldwin Brothers Funeral in New Smryna Beach, Fl. Visitation will be March 5, 2022, from 10:00 am until 11:00, followed by a service at 11:00.
Mass and a celebration of life will be held June 11, 2022, in Bedford, PA area for northern family and friends. Details are being finalized and will be shared as soon as possible.
If so desired, memorial contributions can be made to: BCVVA, c/o James Hartstock, 903 Bus Rt 220, Bedford PA 15522, or local Veterans Association, or local Humane League.
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