American Veteran 01

John R. Stiller Sr.

May 21, 1933 ~ October 7, 2020 (age 87)


John R. Stiller, Sr., 87, of Grand Island, Florida, formerly of Oil City, PA went to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, at 8:38 pm, Wednesday, October 7, 2020, at Cornerstone Hospice in Orlando, Florida.

Born May 21, 1933, in Oil City, John was one of four children of the late Leo and Julia (Keverline) Stiller.

John was a mild-mannered, kind, and witty person.  He was quick with a joke or funny story and was quick to help anyone needing a hand fixing or building something. John was like a walking repair manual, in that there was little he couldn't fix or build if he set his mind to it.

He was born and raised on Stiller's dairy farm on Warren Rd. in Dempseytown, PA. In his youth, John delivered milk throughout Oil City, every day before school. John attended the small Lamey country school, where he liked to say he and another boy were the top kids in his class, but also the only ones in his class!  John also attended Oil City schools until leaving to join the Marines at the young age of 17.  John was eager to leave the farm and see the world.  He completed basic training at Parris Island and infantry training at Camp Lejune.  As he described it, his goal to leave the hard life of the farm didn't work out as planned, as he immediately was sent to the front lines of the Korean War.

John survived the war, partly encouraged and bolstered by a long-time girlfriend from the farm, Ellie (Snooki) Holmes. John was discharged from service on April 14, 1955, as a Corporal and awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, United Nations Service Medal, and the Korean Service Medal.  Sadly, a young husband and father named Ken Hovis did not return from the war. His widow, Shirley, eventually met a man and John's good friend, William Becker, whom she married.  Bill then introduced John to Shirley's sister, Ellen (Sis) Hopper, and the two married on January 25, 1960, and stayed together until Ellen died in 2014.

John worked various odd jobs, including delivering furniture for Kohl & Tucker furniture in Oil City.  He eventually became a masonry's apprentice and started his life-long occupation as a mason/bricklayer.  John took great pride in his work and did every job with perfection.  Like many in the construction trades, John's legacy lives on in the many buildings and homes on which he worked throughout the Northwestern Pennsylvania area. A few buildings of note include the brick arch on the Webco Industries building in Oil City, PA, the brick pillar on the building in Franklin, PA on the corner of Liberty St. and 13th streets, the Oil City High School, the Cranberry Mall, and the Titusville Hospital. During his work life, John made many close friends he always spoke of fondly, including Davey Marshall, Scotty Amsdell, and the late Eddie Henderson and Don Snitzer.  John was nicknamed "Johnny Ringo" by his friends.

He enjoyed riding motorcycles in his younger years and was quite the daredevil.  In his later years, he could be found nearly every morning at his favorite restaurant, the Villa Italia in Oil City.  He enjoyed spending time with his long-time friend, and owner the late Sam Sanfilippo, and special friends Bill Albaugh and Leonard Felmlee. In his later years, Bill and Leonard were especially kind to John as macular degeneration took away his ability to drive.

John was baptized into the Catholic faith.  In his 70's, Ellen's lifelong prayers were answered as under the love and teachings of the late Pastor Tim Tygert, John accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his savior along with his brother-in-law, Bill Becker. Both men were baptized by Pastor Tim.

He experienced sudden dementia and moved to live with his son in Grand Island, FL, in 2020.  It was the furthest south John had ever been. He enjoyed spending his remaining months exploring and experiencing new things with his son, John, in the central Florida area.

John is survived by his daughter, Julie Hepler, and her husband Clair, and their children Andrew (the apple of his papa's eye), and Amy, of Oil City and a son, John, and his wife Kammi, of Grand Island, Florida.

He is also survived by sisters-in-law, Dot Stiller, and Lois Stiller, and numerous nieces and nephews. in addition to his wife, he was preceded in death by infant twin newborns Jeffrey and John Stiller,  a sister Leona Heald and husband Don, brothers Leo and William Stiller, and sisters-in-law Drucilla (Ray) Burneisen, Shirley (Bill) Becker, Joan (Dave) Conway, and Connie Baker.

Friends will be received from 10-12 P.M.  Saturday, October 17 at the Reinsel Funeral Home. Funeral services will follow at 12 P.M. with family friend, Kenny Miller presiding. 

Interment will be in Calvary Cemetery.

Memorial donations may be made to the Cornerstone Bible Church, 407 West First St., Oil City, PA 16301.

Online condolences may be sent at



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October 17, 2020

10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Reinsel Funeral Home & Crematory
116 Bissell Ave.
Oil City, PA 16301

Funeral Service
October 17, 2020

12:00 PM
Reinsel Funeral Home & Crematory
116 Bissell Ave.
Oil City, PA 16301

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