November 1, 1936 ~ June 17, 2022

Born in: Beloit, OH
Resided in: Asheville, NC

John Leland Stoffer passed from this life to the next in his home in Asheville, NC at the age of 85 on Friday, June 17 embraced in the loving presence of his family. John, the son of Leland and Elizabeth Stoffer was born on November 1, 1936, in Beloit, OH. He fondly told tales of his childhood years growing up on a farm near Homeworth, OH. As the oldest of four boys, he was much honored to work on the farm with his father, and the other boys were the chosen ones to help their mother in keeping house.

His love for fast pitch softball began when he and his brother Gene took turns at bat and pitching to make their own baseball game. He went on to become a skilled fast pitch softball pitcher in the 1960’s and “my best year was 1964 when I won twenty-seven games and lost seven and most of them were by one run.”

John served in the United States Air Force from 1957 to 1961. As a radar specialist, his assignments were to rather remote areas, the first of which took him to Watertown, NY. It was there, at a roller-skating rink, that he met, fell in love with and married “Janie” Bast, a marriage they shared for 63 years. Following his departure from the USAF, they returned to his beloved Ohio until 2012 when they moved to Asheville, NC.

John worked hard at his profession as a Pneumatic Air Tool Specialist with General Motors at the Lordstown Auto and Truck Plants. He always had side jobs that included working on his uncle’s truck farm in North Georgetown, OH, painting barns with his father, handyman and groundskeeper at church and for widows who needed that kind of service.

After building the family home in Salem, OH with his own hands, he added hobbies to his busy life. His first love was a one-fourth acre garden that produced food for family and many of the neighbors. A second was woodworking as he crafted multitudes of fine furniture items for family and friends. Later in life, he added hiking as a favorite pastime. For nearly 20 years after his retirement, he and Janie enjoyed hiking together as they RV camped throughout the US, including visits to our beautiful national parks and annual trips to Gulf Shores, AL. John’s only desire to visit abroad was Scotland and hence Janie planned a beautiful two week excursion through the countryside that they shared with their life long friends, Bob and Linda.

Family and friends were precious, and he always made time for his four grandchildren. A most special remembrance was the “cousin” camping trips where they came together to be with just their grandparents starting when they were in pre-school and ending during their high school years.

He embraced a full, well-lived life that included a wide variety of good causes, including a few among many listed as follows: maintenance at JBM–Eastminster Presbytery church camp; Habitat for Humanity of Columbiana County; Food Banks in OH; caring for grounds and people in our first NC home–Haw Creek Villas; Manna Food Bank in NC; baking cookies for the homeless and Friendship Hours at FCUCC.

Survivors include his wife, Jane Stoffer of Asheville, NC; his children and their partners Laurie (Cathy) Bliven of Winterville, NC; Diane (Dan) Rogers of Asheville, NC; Eric (Annabel) Stoffer of Cleveland, OH; brother Eugene (Jane) Stoffer of Alliance, OH; sisters-in-law Kay Stoffer of Minerva, OH and Brenda Stoffer of Canton, OH; uncle Clifford (Jean) Grove of Alliance, OH; grandchildren Allyson (Tyler) Rogers of Denver, CO; Nicholas (Lily) Bliven of Ft. Thomas, KY; Jake Rogers of Dalton, GA; Madeline (Matt) Stoffer of Nashville, TN. He was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers, Gary and James.

Celebration of Life services are scheduled for July 9 at 11:00 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church of Salem, Salem, OH and July 30 at 11:00 a.m. at the First Congregational United Church of Christ of Asheville, Asheville, NC.

Donations may be made to: First Presbyterian Church of Salem, 436 East 2nd Street, Salem, OH 44460-2816, or to Manna Foodbank, 627 Swannanoa River Road, Asheville, NC 28805-2445.


Funeral Home Assisting The Family:

Groce Funeral Home - Patton Ave.
1401 Patton Ave.
Asheville, NC 28806


Celebration of Life: July 9, 2022 11:00 am

First Presbyterian Church of Salem
436 East 2nd Street
Salem, OH

Celebration of Life: July 30, 2022 11:00 am

First Congregational Church of Christ
20 Oak St.
Asheville, NC 28801


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  1. John was a loving kind presence. He was constantly seen doing handyman work around First Congregational UCC. He will be missed.

  2. Dear Jane, We want to express our sympathy to you and your family. We are remembering you all in our prayers and send much love and hugs. Leslie and Ed Hillman

  3. To the family, I am deeply saddened by the grief you are feeling.
    Knowing of God’s love for you, continue to look to him when “he will wipe out all tears from our eyes, death, pain, and suffering will be no more. ” – Revelation 21:3,4
    He says death is an ” enemy that will be brought to nothing ” – 1 Corinthians 15:26
    How comforting to know that this will be a thing of the past and through Christ Jesus a resurrection for our loved ones.


  4. To Jane & Family,

    What a dear, abiding friend was John! I will miss our lunch outings, with his gentle presence, fond memories shared, and a delightful sense of humor. He will be greatly missed at First Congregational, most recently the valuable insights he contributed to the Sacred Pause group. I’m so glad our paths crossed and share deeply in your sorrow!

    Eric Lyons

  5. I only knew John for the last two years as he and Jane moved into our building at the same time I did. From the beginning of our acquaintance, it was clear what a devoted couple they were. As John began his decline in health, his love and trust in Jane, and her determination to give him the best possible care, shone out every time I met either of them. John’s sweetness of spirit and determination to do all he could to keep going shone forth even as his health grew worse. I feel privileged to have known this pure soul, however briefly.

  6. To Jane and all that loved John.
    John always have abundantly with his many talents. He has been a great Papa to Dan as well as his family and taught him much over the years. May God continue to sustain all of you


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