American Veteran 01

John Deal Holland

September 1, 1937 ~ December 5, 2021 (age 84)

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John Deal Holland, much loved husband, father, grandfather, and friend, 84, of Poplar Bluff, Missouri, passed away Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021. 

John was born on Sept. 1, 1937, in Poplar Bluff, to Earnest Rudolph Holland and Alphia Emma Holland. He was an only child and besides a short time living on naval stations during his father’s WWII deployments, he grew up in Poplar Bluff on the corner of Maud and Ninth street, playing sand lot baseball in Ferguson Grove. As a young man, John worked for his grandfather’s store, The Deal & Brown Store, on North Main and Barron Road. He also delivered grocery supplies throughout the Bootheel for his father’s business Wholesale Merchant’s Grocery and Holland Brokerage. 

He graduated from Poplar Bluff High School in 1955 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Business from the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri. Along with several others from Poplar Bluff he was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity and he, with his best friend from St. Louis, Missouri, Dale Meyerkord, joined the Navy after graduation. 

John married Catherine Arrendale Sheets of Poplar Bluff, on March 9, 1963. They were married for 53 years and had four children. John spent 21 years in the Navy and retired as a Commander. John was a surface warfare officer and veteran of many cruises spending his most memorable time as an officer on the USS Los Angeles and the USS Guam. 

During the Vietnam war, John’s friend Dale Meyerkord became the first Naval officer killed in Vietnam. Years later, John volunteered for duty in Vietnam and worked as a counterpart with the South Vietnamese Navy on river patrol boats during operation Sea Tiger. For his service, John received several decorations, including the Navy Bronze Star with combat V. John is also remembered on the Wall of Valor at the John J. Pershing VA Medical Center in Poplar Bluff. After his combat experience, John gave up hunting and never again pointed a weapon at anything living. 

After retiring from the Navy, John returned with his family to Poplar Bluff where he worked as the business manager for the Poplar Bluff School District. He retired as acting superintendent of the Poplar Bluff School District. John was made acting superintendent by special dispensation from the Governor of Missouri at a time when the school district could not hire a superintendent following incidences of vandalism against previous administrators. 

After the death of Catherine in 2016, John remarried at the age of 80, to Margaret Greer Schlosser of Arnold, Missouri.

John was active in the community over the years as a member of the Poplar Bluff Museum Association, Rotary Club, the Chamber of Commerce, the Methodist Church, the Animal Welfare Alliance, the American Legion and AMVETS. He is the past post commander of the VFW and the former, very proud Commander of the SEMO Honor Guard, where he completed hundreds of funerals and visited many of the small and remote cemeteries of Southeast Missouri. 

John loved running and was a common sight jogging about town; he completed 23 marathons, logged over 45,000 miles and helped organize running in Poplar Bluff for decades. He loved to travel, visiting all seven continents and over 60 countries. John loved hiking; he completed every section of the Ozark Trail, hiked in the Rockies, Alps, Andes and Himalayas, and summited Mts. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and Elbrus in Russia. John also loved his family, dogs, books, coaching, mentoring, jazz, a good Irish whiskey, and the holidays. 

After a terrible, long-term bout with COVID, which had confined John to his home, oxygen and 24-hour care, he decided to end his life as he had lived it: on his own terms. In what he no doubt saw as a poetic gesture, John took his own life with the Vietnam revolver left to him by the family of his great friend Dale Meyerkord. 

He is survived by his children, Timothy and Challis Holland of Holts Summit, Missouri; his next son and his wife, Daniel and Gabriella Holland of Poplar Bluff; his daughter and her husband, Heather and Patrick Wroge of South Grafton, Massachusetts: his eight grandchildren Ashley, Sara and Tommy Holland; Mary-Catherine (Holland) Toriumi, Catherine and Alexander Wroge; Nathan and Gabriel Seidl.

John was preceded in death by his first wife, Catherine Arrendale Sheets Holland, his second wife, Margaret Greer Schlosser Holland, and his first, stillborn son.

Visitation will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday Dec. 11, 2021, at the First United Methodist Church in Poplar Bluff with the funeral service following at 2 p.m. The Rev. David Stewart will officiate.  Interment with full military honors will begin at 10 a.m. Monday, Dec. 13, 2021, at the Missouri State Veterans Cemetery in Bloomfield with Rev. David Stewart officiating. 

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be sent to Animal Welfare Alliance or to Veterans of Foreign Wars. 

Cotrell Funeral Service is honored to serve the family of John Deal Holland.



To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of John Deal Holland, please visit our floral store.


December 11, 2021

1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
First United Methodist Church
500 North Main St.
Poplar Bluff, MO 63901

Funeral Service
December 11, 2021

2:00 PM
First United Methodist Church
500 North Main St.
Poplar Bluff, MO 63901

Graveside Service with Full Military Honors
December 13, 2021

10:00 AM
Missouri State Veterans Cemetery (Bloomfield)


Veterans of Foreign Wars
415 South Broadway St., Poplar Bluff MO 63901

Animal Welfare Alliance of Southeast Missouri
P.O. Box 647, Poplar Bluff MO 63902
Tel: 1-573-840-0664

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