Johnnie (John) Henry Stenger, age 99 years and nine months, was born Aug. 3, 1923, in Houston, Mo. He passed away May 5, 2023, in Houston, Mo. John was the second child born to Fred Wesley Stenger and Flora Alice (Phillips) Stenger. His final resting place will be Oak Hill Cemetery in Houston, beside his loving wife, Helen. A military-style ceremony will be provided by the (VFW) Veterans of Foreign Wars.
John grew up in the Houston area on his grandfather’s homestead which was established six miles east of town in 1886. This property remains in the Stenger Family name and has been a Century Farm for 36 years. John attended school at Brown Hill then graduated from Houston High School in 1941.
John proudly served our country in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1943. He told the story of how he volunteered for the Army. He remembered getting on the bus to go to Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and not having a coat. The weather was cold, and a doctor pulled a pint of whiskey out of his coat and said, “Here this will keep you warm for the trip.” Once he got to Leavenworth, Kan., a fellow came by and said “You, you, you and you follow me. When they did, they ended up in Kansas City and were sworn in as U.S. Marines. He earned the rank of Corporal while serving. He fought in three battles in the South Pacific, plus was in Nagasaki a few days after it had been bombed. John never spoke much about the war after returning home. He was presented with a proclamation from the Missouri State House of Representatives on his 90th birthday, honoring and recognizing his service to our country.
After returning to Houston in 1946, John married Audrey Pearl (Richards) Stenger (deceased). Five children were born to this union, Fred Wade Stenger and wife Doris of Houston, Donna Sue (Stenger) Story of Houston, Kathryn Marie (Stenger) Elmore (deceased), John Lee Stenger and wife Shellie of Houston, and Carl Eugene Stenger and wife Patty Handley of Evening Shade, MO. John worked numerous jobs until he went to work for the Civil Service at Fort Leonard Wood. He rose to the position and retired as Chief of Pay at Finance and Accounting where he met and married Helen (Hough) Stenger. They lived in Richland for a time before moving back to Houston. Our servicemen and women were all paid in cash until late in John’s career when paper checks began being processed for payment. John was able to retire at 49 YOA. John loved to fish and hunt. Deer season was one of his favorite times of the year when he and friends would hit the woods looking for the 30 pointer.
John was preceded in death by both parents, Fred and Flora; brothers, William and Wesley; sisters, Betty and Hazel; first wife, Audrey (Richards) Stenger; second wife, Helen (Hough) Stenger; daughter, Kathryn Elmore and granddaughter, Amanda Stenger.
John is survived by four of his five children; two stepsons, Lee Hough and wife, Shirley of Georgia and Charles Hough and wife, Beth of Oklahoma; 19 grandchildren, Brent Stenger, Sherry Campbell, Sheila Stenger, Audra Victoria Stenger, Jonathan Edward Stenger, Jennifer Gagliardo, Carla (Randell) Stenger, Brian Story, Aaron Story, Anita Rogers, Dusty Hathaway, Landon Elmore, Carle Hough, Kathy Hough, Kristine Hough and JoAnn Hough; several nieces and nephews; 21 great-grandchildren and six great-great-grandchildren.
John was always a family man and loved to hear the family sing and just hang out, especially on the Friday night gathering. One of his favorite hobbies was playing cards, double pinochle being his favorite.
A visitation for John will be held from noon-1 p.m. on Wednesday, May 10, 2023, at Evans Funeral Home. A graveside service with military honors immediately following at Oak Hill Cemetery, officiated by Pastor Bill Villapiano. Arrangements entrusted to Evans Funeral Home, Houston. Online condolences may be left at www.evansfh.com.