John Staller

John Staller


January 10, 1951 - December 17, 2022


John “Joe” Staller, 71, of Plankinton, SD, passed away Saturday, December 17, 2022, at Sanford Hospital in Sioux Falls surrounded by his family. Funeral services will be 10:30 AM Tuesday, December 27, at the United Methodist Church in Plankinton. Burial will be at Mizpah Cemetery in Plankinton. Visitation will be Monday from 5-7:00 PM at Plankinton United Methodist with a 6:30 PM prayer service. Arrangements by Bittner Funeral Chapel.

John Joseph Staller was born January 10, 1951 in Plankinton, SD to Edwin and Arlene Staller. He was welcomed home by his older siblings, Delwin and Cheryl. 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, RI. 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, CA. During this time his first daughter, Heidi was born.

Following this tour, he was selected for Flag Writer School at Fort Benjamin Harrison Indianapolis, IN, during which time he was blessed with another daughter, Melissa. 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.

He earned numerous awards during his time in the military including: Navy Commendation Medal (3 awards), Navy Achievement Medal (5 awards), Navy Unit Commendation Meritorious Unit Commendation, Battle “E” (3 awards), Good Conduct Medal (8 awards), National Defense Service Medal (2 awards), Antarctica Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Sea Service Deployment (6), and Kuwait Liberation Medal. He was also Enlisted Surface Warfare and Air Warfare qualified.

Upon retirement he worked for Vanguard Industries in Carlsbad, CA. 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 did not miss a patriotic holiday. He put flags up in the community and prepared the cemetery to honor Veterans. He took great pride that his grandchildren were by his side to honor Veterans, they could often be seen displaying flags on Main Street with grandpa. He is 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. He was proud to commit his time to making Plankinton the best community. He spent numerous hours behind the scenes to support the community that he was so proud of.

He was a loving husband, father, and grandfather. He greatly enjoyed attending his grandchildren’s events and spending time with the love of his life and making every moment count. Joe was dedicated to serving his country and community. He left a lasting impression on everyone he met. He will greatly be missed by all.

Left to cherish his memory are his wife, Sherry of Plankinton; daughters, Heidi (Neal) Utesch of Moville, IA and Melissa (Cordell) Davis of Plankinton SD; grandchildren Taiylor and Kaylee Utesch of Moville, IA, Carter, Abby, and Kenzie Davis of Plankinton, SD; sister, Cheryl Bachmeier of Renton, WA; sister-in-law, Irene Staller of Rapid City, SD; brothers-in-law, Ronnie (Sandy) Tobin of Plankinton, SD, Perry Tobin of Wessington Springs, SD, and Rick (Deb) Tobin of Woonsocket, SD; and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents Edwin and Arlene Staller; 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.


Monday, December 26, 2022
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
6:30 PM Prayer Service

Plankinton United Methodist Church
210 E Rd
Plankinton, SD 57368


Tuesday, December 27, 2022
10:30 AM
Plankinton United Methodist Church
210 E Rd
Plankinton, SD 57368


Mizpah Cemetery
Plankinton, SD

Posted by Terry and Cindy Hoffman on December 26, 2022
Our Community and Our Veterans were so very lucky to have had Joe in our lives. Joe shared his knowledge to help make our Community and Our Veterans lives better, he will be so missed. Our love, hugs,and prayers to Sherry and all of Joe's Family. Terry and Cindy
Posted by Juanita and David Edinger on December 23, 2022
Our condolences to all of Joe's family. He will be remembered as a loyal veteran who served his country and community, and deeply loved his family. God bless you all.
Posted by Michael and Grace Hare on December 22, 2022
Like so many of you, I met Joe through our duties while serving ing the U.S. Navy. Joe was the Comm@nd Master Chief aboard USS CHANCELLORSVILLE. I came aboard during the 1995 deployment and was immediately welcomed by Joe. As the cruise progressed, we were scheduled to make a port visit to Sidney, Australia, and Joe mentioned a group of wives were planning to meet the ship. Sherry made the connection with my soon to be bride and helped her make the trip, too! We have stayed in contact after we both eventually left the ship and both retired as Master Chiefs in 2001. We have visited each other at our respective homes several times and we have enjoyed the tales of their cruises, too! Grace and I were shocked to learn of Joe’s passing and wish to express our sympathies to the great family he enjoyed so much. We will miss you, Joe.
Rest In Peace, Master Chief…we have the watch.
Posted by Sheri Koeck on December 21, 2022
Sherry, I was so sorry to read this. Love and hugs.
Posted by Maggie & John Maffei on December 20, 2022
Sherry & Family we send our heartfelt love and prayers to you all in this difficult time. Your family was blessed to have such a loving husband and father, and my you find comfort in each others arms. Love to All, Maggie & John
Posted by Gloria and Ken Hauser on December 20, 2022
We are so sorry to learn of Joe’s passing. It is difficult to know how many lives have been touched by Joe over the years but with all of his many jobs and service to our country I am sure the number is quite large. He was definitely looked up to by many, myself included. We always enjoyed seeing you and Joe and visiting when we were back in Plankinton! Sherry, you and your family are in our hearts and prayers.
Posted by David Simms on December 20, 2022
I met Master Chief 35 years ago on the USS OKINAWA and my life change that day. He put my military and personal life on a course for success. He was an amazing mentor and teacher. RIH my friend.
Posted by Scott Forbes on December 20, 2022
I met Joe in 1978 in Washington DC. My wife and I moved in two doors away. Joe was a Second Class Petty Officer and I was a Seaman Apprentice, both in the Navy. We worked at different locations with very different duties, but our homes were similar. Both of us were raising families, both of us were struggling financially in one of the most expensive cities to live on the east coast. But we bound our lives with the ties of the US Navy. As time went by Joe was Promoted to First Class, and I gained rank also. His girls a bit older than my children we’re clearly his joy. We spent time together working on his family van, and just being friends. He ended up moving to San Diego, and I to Hawaii. We kept in touch and when I was being transferred to Norfolk, we contacted Joe and Sherry to visit. At the last minute, I found out my car was shipped to the wrong port, and I’d have to fly to Oakland instead of LA. I contacted Joe ans he was able to drive to LA and pick up my family, return to San Diego with them while I retrieved our car. Our visit was nice, and we caught up. The years passed, our careers never crossed paths again, Joe promoted quickly to Master Chief, Command Master Chief and after years of dedicated service finally returned home. I retired as a Master Chief also and lived in Panama City, Florida when Joe and Sherry visited several years ago enroute a family Cruise from Fort Lauderdale. It was like we had lived next door our entire lives. I look back now and know what a good man Joe was, understanding his deep sense of duty to God, Family, and Country. For my shoes walked many of the same paths God put before us, and even though ours only crossed here and there, we can remember the good times with Joe in our hearts forever.
Posted by Bob Miller on December 20, 2022
Sherry and Family - Joe was a great classmate and teammate in football and baseball. Everybody loved Joe as he respected and treated people right, had a fantastic smile and laugh that was contagious. There are many great memories of Joe that I will cherish forever.
Posted by Tony Carvalho on December 20, 2022
My condolences to the entire family. I have wonderful memories of Joe and Sherry and the entire Staller family. Love you all and you are in my thoughts and prayers. What a wonderful role model your family was to Cheri and I. Love you!
Posted by Steven E. Bull on December 19, 2022
Our sincere condolences to the family during this difficult time, May Our Good Lord Jesus give you all strength, comfort and guidance in the journey ahead and allow you to share many wonderful memories and stories about Joe that others will enjoy, and doing so will will bring tears of joy and remembrance and also helps heal your broken heart 💔 Amen
Posted by Carmen and Ruben Lapp on December 19, 2022
Sherri and family, We believe Joe is singing Christmas hymns to our Lord in heaven with the angels and all of loved ones. Our sincere sympathy, Carmen (Heezen) & Ruben Lapp
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