John A. Stellingwerf


John A. Stellingwerf, a longtime resident of Warwick, NY, died January 5, 2021 in Middletown, NY.

Born in Garfield, NJ to the late John Stellingwerf and Mildred (Gunza) Stellingwerf on December 12, 1936, he was 84. John is survived by his daughters Tracy Stellingwerf and Kate Collica (Anthony); sisters, Ruthe Luna (Anthony) and Susan Cane (Jeffrey); 3 grandchildren and several cousins, nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his daughter Donna Anthonisen and sister Sonia Etlinger.

In the 1950s, John swam for the New Jersey State American Athletic Union, earning a scholarship to Princeton University. Like many at that time, he chose instead to enlist in the US Army. He was assigned to the counter-intelligence corps where he served from 1955 – 1960.

After graduating with a B.S. in business from Rutgers University, he worked for Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals for 35 years. In his retirement, he was a marketing consultant for hospital pharmacies.

John was the owner of American Black Belt Martial Arts for 50 years. Hanshi Stellingwerf learned karate while in Korea and eventually earned a tenth degree black belt, the highest degree conferred, and he was president of the US Goshin Ryu Karate Association in 1972 and from 1992 – 2017.

John was also past president and commander of the Korean War Veterans’ Association, Post 202, Orange County, NY, an organization he held in the highest regard.

An avid outdoorsman, John’s first love was his home in the Catskill Mountains in Delhi, NY, where he hunted and fished since 1965.

John will be greatly missed by his loving family and friends for his friendly, outgoing personality, his tall tales and his prankster sense of humor.

Services will be private. Pastor Kevin Hossink will officiate. A memorial service will be planned for a later date when everyone can safely attend. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Cyclic Vomiting Association, P.O. Box 270341, Milwaukee, WI 53227 (, or the Korean War Veterans’ Association, Post 202, 901 Goshen Turnpike, Circleville, NY 10919.

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My sincere condolences to John's Family and many friends. Prayers for John, his sister Ruth and brother in law Tony Luna. I've known John for many years and he is a consummate gentleman and dedicated martial art master and great sportsman and hunter. RIP Brother.
Tom VanTassel
My sincerest condolences to you all. Since meeting John on the weekend of Thanksgiving 1981 before sunup as I prepared to go hunting in Delhi I have not a few fond memories. I pray that his soul is at rest in the arms of Jesus along with all of his loved ones who have gone before. I pray that God's grace comfort you all as well. He became a close friend of my dad who also served in Korea and even drove over 2 hours one way to be at his wake in 2013, I will be for ever grateful to him for this.
Richard Murphy
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