John Frederick Uebelein of Poplar Bluff, Missouri, passed away on Friday, November 6, 2020, at the age of 87. After several months of declining health, John died peacefully at Oakdale Caring Center. He spent his final hours with his wife and two adult children by his side in prayer and reflection on a life well spent.
John was born in Poplar Bluff on October 3, 1933, to father John Charles Uebelein and mother Fern Berneil Gowen Uebelein. His parents owned and operated John Uebelein Grocers on Bartlett Street in the east side of Poplar Bluff. The oldest of three children, his early life was shaped by growing up within a small merchant’s family and the challenges presented by his father’s complete loss of sight shortly after John was born in 1933. The personal character gained from added responsibilities of helping his mother in the operation of their store established a lifelong pattern of service and taking care of others. He is remembered as a dutiful servant who, along with his wife, remained in the Poplar Bluff area and cared for seven family members from the previous generation through their final years, quietly serving them from the 1970’s until 2004.
John graduated from Poplar Bluff High School in 1951 before serving in the U.S. Army for two years. He began working with the John J. Pershing Veterans Administration hospital in 1957, retiring as Chief of Supply Services in 1987. John married Patsy Joy Hawk of Brownwood, Missouri, on March 7, 1957. He was a member of Faith Lutheran Church in Dexter, Missouri, and active with AmVets Post 29. Other than his time in the Army, he lived his entire life in Poplar Bluff. In his own words, he said “I was born in Poplar Bluff, and I wish to die in Poplar Bluff.”
John was an avid outdoorsman, with a deep love of bass fishing and quail hunting and was a lifelong fan of the St. Louis Cardinals. He was most at home in the outdoors or on the ballfields across the region. He competed at the highest levels of amateur fast-pitch softball, participating in state and regional tournaments as a member of the Archie’s Shell softball team. He loved to recount stories of speeding through grocery store deliveries as a teenager to allow time for pickup games of baseball along his route.
John was preceded in death by his parents and by his sister Wanda Uebelein Cozart and grandson Andrew Mueller. He is survived by his wife Patsy Joy Hawk Uebelein; daughter Karen Uebelein Mueller and son John Neil Uebelein; brother Charles Richard Uebelein and his wife Dorothy; nineteen grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
A private family-only funeral is planned for Monday, November 9th, at Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Bloomfield, Missouri.
People wishing to honor John’s lifelong commitment to family and community can make donations to the United Gospel Rescue Mission. Donations can be made online at www.pbrescue.com/donate.php, or by mail at 421 W Pine Street, Poplar Bluff, MO 63901.
Cotrell Funeral Service is honored to serve the family of John F. Uebelein.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of John F. Uebelein, please visit our floral store.
United Gospel Rescue Mission
421 West Pine Street, Poplar Bluff MO 63901