John Edgar Kiefer

john kiefer

March 18, 1949 ~ March 24, 2023

Born in: Aurora, IL
Resided in: Mills River, NC

John Edgar Kiefer of Mills River, NC died on March 24, 2023, of complications from a fall. Born in Aurora, Illinois on March 18, 1949, John attended K.D. Waldo Junior High and graduated from East Aurora High School in 1968, where he was senior class vice president. He attended Northern Illinois University, pursuing a business degree. He lived much of his life in the Chicago area, relocating to Asheville in 2005, to be closer to his wife’s family. John’s 35-year career in the real estate data industry included serving as national account manager, director of sales and marketing, and senior vice president of companies providing appraisal and valuation products to major title companies and lenders nationwide. Earlier in his career, as a sales executive with TRW, John was a member of the President’s Club as top producer in the Chicago Market each year. In addition, John was active in several mortgage bankers’ associations. After retiring in 2019, John joined the Biltmore Estate’s parking and transportation team, where he enjoyed providing hospitality to guests and often accepted additional assignments beyond his shift.

A successful athlete on East Aurora High School’s golf and football teams and member of the Letterman Club, John’s lifelong love of sports led him to become a Little League coach for his sons’ teams, and referee of football and basketball games and instructional camps at the high school and college level. In addition to his demanding sales career involving nationwide travel, many week and weekend nights John served as referee for thousands of games over a 53-year period, including officiating at six state championship games for football and basketball. He was a member of numerous athletic organizations including the National Association of Sports Officials, Northern Athletics Conference Basketball Officials, and the Midwest Conference Officials. In addition, he was a long-time member of the East High Old Timers, supporting high school sports activities. After relocating to Asheville, he officiated football and basketball games at local and regional high schools and colleges.

In retirement, John enjoyed international travel, gardening, golf, and spending time with his family. He could often be found walking his beloved dog, Daisy, greeting neighbors with a friendly word.

John was preceded in death by his parents F. LeRoy and Dixie Divine Kiefer, and sons Scott and Dan Kiefer. He is survived by his loving wife of 38 years Alexandra Rathbun Kiefer, stepdaughters Christa and Susannah Eversman, granddaughter Morgan Kiefer, and cousin Bobby McAnally.

John will be remembered for his unfailing kindness, generosity and positive attitude, and his devotion to family, sports, and animals. He displayed exceptional negotiating skills in many different situations not only in sports and business, but in life.

The family is grateful for the love and support from neighbors and friends during John’s illness. A memorial service will be held at Groce Funeral Home at Lake Julian on Saturday, April 29 at 2:00 pm EST and will be streamed lived directly below his obituary on starting at 1:25 PM EST. Memorials may be made to Valley River Humane Society, 7450 US 19 N, Marble, NC 28905.

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Memorial Service: April 29, 2023 2:00 pm

Room: Chapel

Groce Funeral Home at Lake Julian
72 Long Shoals Road
Arden, NC 28704


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Memories Timeline


  1. John was a true and loyal friend to many and I am glad to count him as one of my close friends these past 18 years. I will miss his company that I have enjoyed on our many joint family outings in the WNC mountains, to include rafting on the Broad, going to Drum Circle, eating out at the many splendid Asheville, Hendersonville, Waynesville, Weaverville restaurants or grilling on my porch or on his porch or other neighbors porches or at the many Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Parties at our Mountain Cabin or Grove Park Inn or wherever we celebrated year after year!
    Thanks for your friendship John……see you on the other side!

  2. To the Kiefer Family,
    Sending my love and condolences. John was my Godfather. Didn’t see him much in my adulthood but thought of him often. Great guy!

    Carolyn Slaughter

  3. I came to know John quite a few years ago vis his spouse, Lexi, at Eastern Airline Reunions, and as a guest at their home. John’s sense of humor was infectious, and his sport stories enlightening. Such a kind man he enhanced our world. My deepest sympathy to Lexi, Lrista, and Susanna,

  4. John was a very thoughtful and kind man. I worked with him at Biltmore. The fondest memory I have of him was when we worked a special assignment together. We assisted guest to park cars at the vineyard. He made the time fun and the time just flew by. I am so happy I got to spend this time with him and to get to know him better. My heart felt condolences to his family along with Prayers during this time. Lisa

  5. We’ve enjoyed lots of good times with John and Lexie these past 18 years. We explored mountain towns and tried lits of restaurants. We’ve celebrated many New Years Eves together since first merting on New Years Eve! One of our most memorable outings was to see the elk at Cataloochee! John has left us and many with lots of great memories! He was always game to try something new! And always ready to go! We will miss him terribly. We were all blessed with knowing him!

  6. My husband Bob and I always looked forward to visiting John and Lexi at our Eastern airlines reunion. He was so kind and fun to visit with. Rest in peace John -our deepest sympathy to Lexi and family.

  7. John was a prince among men and he’ll be missed in our little neighborhood. We always enjoyed our conversations on the mountain and we’ll miss seeing him walking Miss Daisy up the hill. The light in heaven shines a little brighter with John’s presence. Our deepest sympathy is extended to Lexie and the family. R.I.P. John and we’ll see you on the other side

  8. What a huge loss. I only knew John for a short period of time. I am the security officer at the Community where he lived. There was always a smile when John brought Daisy (furever friend) down for a visit (and a cookie). I did not know about Johns background relating to sports——-that’s my loss:(. John was always so affable and friendly!!!!
    I will miss him……….

  9. We are so very sorry for your loss. John was a wonderful neighbor and always had kind words to share. We will miss seeing him walking Daisy on the mountain.

  10. John you were a good man who did outstanding things in your life. I am proud to have known you. Rest in peace old friend.

  11. John, you ever ready smile and kind ways will be missed by all your neighbors. May you rest in Peace

  12. I worked with John for a number of years for a sporting goods company in Montgomery, Ill He was very patient but deliberate. I remember well his officiating He is one of the good guys Rest well my old friend

  13. I was truly honored to have known John. He was a great friend who I enjoyed officiating football and basketball with. I really loved the conversations that we had. I will be praying for the family.

  14. Gentle John…so kind and thoughtful to all. Love and prayers
    to Lexi, Sue, and Christa.

  15. I’ll always remember his hearty laugh and his mischievous smile. He was a great storyteller. My husband and I worked with John in sporting goods, in Montgomery. He’ll truly be missed.
    Lexi, my sincere condolences to you and your family.

  16. It was a shock to hear of John’s passing. He will be greatly missed by all of us who were lucky to know him. He was a true gentleman and a very kind person.
    May you rest in peace dear John!
    With our warm regards and sincere condolences,
    Margriet and Fred Charlton

  17. We will remember John as a member of our Seersucker Club who was always kind and good-natured, and who enjoyed participating in our club. We also remember John walking Daisy on Chestnut Ridge, and giving a friendly wave to everyone that passed by.

    Sorry for your loss, Lexie, and let us know if you need anything.

    Peggy and Dave

  18. John was my next-door neighbor and he frequently stopped to visit when he and Daisy were walking by. He was a kind man with a great sense of humor.

  19. When John rang the bell, I knew he was preparing to walk Daisy, his beloved dog, and head up my way to stop and say hi. After he retired, he was busy outside keeping his yard and garden in shape. I miss him greatly.

  20. John was always such a gentleman so gracious and made you feel that he had known you forever. We were so fortunate to have he and Lexi accompany us on his last cruise to Europe, Greece and Malta last year. It is a wonderful memory that we will always cherish.

    Warm regards and sincere condolences, Lexi, Christa and Susannah.

  21. John was one of my first friends in Chicago when I moved from California in 2001. We both were real estate industry salesmen and often worked for the same companies over the course of a decade or so. John used to come visit his daughter in Chicago and we’d frequently meet up and go to Portillos for a burger– I think he really loved those burgers too! We had many good real estate conferences that a whole gang of us would meet at and enjoy stories, trade client lists, and much more! John was a good man and friend and he will be missed. I’m very sorry for your loss Mrs. Kiefer.

  22. Met John in Las Vagas 14 years ago and he introduced me to his company DataVerify and to this day still do business with them.
    Have enjoyed our friendship over the years and will truly miss him. He was a very kind person to all and respected by all. Heard he use to referee basketball or football games. I am very sorry for the Kiefer family’s loss.

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