John Staller


John “Joe” Staller, 71, of Plankinton, passed away on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022, at Sanford Hospital in Sioux Falls. 

Funeral services were held Tuesday, Dec. 27, at the United Methodist Church in Plankinton. Burial was at Mizpah Cemetery in Plankinton. Visitation was Monday, Dec. 26, at Plankinton United Methodist with a prayer service. Arrangements were by Bittner Funeral Chapel.

John Joseph Staller was born Jan. 10, 1951, in Plankinton, to Edwin and Arlene Staller. Joe attended school in Plankinton, where he graduated in 1969.

Upon graduation from high school, he joined the Navy in June 1969. After graduating from basic training, he attended Yeoman “A” school. He was then assigned to Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command, Fifteenth Naval District, Fort Amador, Panama Canal Zone. His next assignment was with Antarctic Development Squadron SIX, homeported at Quonset Point, R.I. He made two deployments to McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. Joe separated from the Navy in March 1973.

Joe returned home to Plankinton, where he was united in marriage to Sherry Tobin on May 3, 1974. Shortly after, Joe decided to return to active duty in October 1974. His next assignment took him to the USS Jouett homeported in San Diego, Calif.

Following this tour, he was selected for Flag Writer School at Fort Benjamin Harrison Indianapolis, Ind. His next tour of duty was with Staff, Chief of Naval Operations Test and Evaluation. During this tour, he was selected for Chief Petty Officer and assigned to commander Amphibious Group Eastern Pacific. His next assignments were with Commander Naval Surface Force U.S. Pacific Fleet as Flag Writer for the Deputy Commander and then the Commander. His next duty assignment took him aboard the USS Okinawa, where he completed three deployments, including minesweeping operations following the Iran/Iraq war. He was selected for Senior Chief during this time.

Staying at sea, he next reported to Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 113. He made two deployments on board the USS Independence. Returning to shore duty, he reported to Fighter Squadron 124, the largest squadron in the US Navy. During this tour, he was promoted to Master Chief Petty Officer. This next tour brought him aboard the USS Chancellorsville as Command Master Chief. His final duty was with the Naval Dental Center in San Diego as Command Master Chief, where he retired in 2001 after 30 years in the service.

Upon retirement, he worked for Vanguard Industries in Carlsbad, Calif. In February 2005, Joe and Sherry moved back to Plankinton, where he volunteered with the Plankinton Fire Department until 2020. He was an active life member of VFW Post 655. He was a member of American Legion Post 5, as well as a member of the United Methodist Church. He had served on the City Council and was currently serving as Mayor of Plankinton.

Joe is survived by his wife, Sherry of Plankinton; daughters, Heidi (Neal) Utesch of Moville, Iowa, and Melissa (Cordell) Davis of Plankinton; five grandchildren; sister, Cheryl Bachmeier of Renton, Wash.; sister-in-law, Irene Staller of Rapid City; brothers-in-law, Ronnie (Sandy) Tobin of Plankinton, Perry Tobin of Wessington Springs, and Rick (Deb) Tobin of Woonsocket; and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Delwin Staller; grandparents, John and Marie VanWormer, and Joe and Rachel Staller; mother-in-law and father-in-law, Darwin and Eileen Tobin; and great-niece, Shandra Tobin.

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