John Schieffelbein, a man of many talents and a longtime resident of the Fairfield area, died of Alzheimer’s and Lewy body dementia on Oct. 31, surrounded by family and friends (including his wonderful dogs). John was born 11/26/1951 at Lutheran Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa, joining his brother Carl and sister Marj. He grew up in a family who loved hiking, camping and fishing together. They occasionally hunted and could never figure out why John (who was a good shot) never got any birds until he confessed to “intentionally missing.” He loved all of life. His greatest anger came from what he saw as mistreatment of others, the natural world, and all of the creatures and plants therein. He took seriously the charge of caring for others. Consequently, he was a conscientious objector in Vietnam, which was extremely difficult for him, but also helped shape and continued to influence him throughout life.
John grew up in the Lutheran Church and planned to be a minister so he could help others. Quickly realizing that the Sunday “gig” wasn’t for him, he tried several avenues until he became a social worker for the state of Iowa. He eventually got his master’s degree in social work and became a LCSW, which he loved. The job he most treasured, however, was that of “house dad” and raising his youngest son.
He could do anything with his hands, and was never afraid to tackle any job. The lack of a fear of failure served him well. He made many thousands of projects and was constantly fixing or tinkering with things. One of his greatest projects was the moving and remodeling of the family’s home, an old farmhouse that he redesigned and completely renovated. Friends called John a Renaissance man because his interests and talents spanned so many areas.
John was also an accomplished musician and could play almost anything by ear. This led to him not being great at reading music, until a teacher realized this and quit playing the songs for him, forcing him to read the notes.
His love for animals led him to volunteer at the Bright Eyes Animal Shelter in Choteau. After he and his family adopted one of the more reticent dogs, John spent countless hours caring for and training her.
John’s way of looking at life differently was a gift that his family and friends treasured. He will be sorely missed – Gone much too soon.
He is survived by his sons, David and Nick; his wife of 30 years, Julie; and his brother, Carl.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made to Bright Eyes Animal Shelter or Peace Hospice.
Condolences may be left on-line at www.gorderjensenfuneralhome.com
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