January 31, 1940 ~ August 24, 2009
Greece: Past into Eternal Life on August 24, 2009 at age 69. He is survived by his loving wife of 45 years, Noreen Stillhard and son, J.J. Stillhard. Friends may call Thursday, 4-7 P.M. at Vay-Schleich & Meeson Funeral Home, 1075 Long Pond Road. His Funeral Mass will be celebrated, Friday 9:30 A.M. at Our Mother of Sorrows Church, 5000 Mt. Read Blvd. Interment will follow Mass in Clifton Springs, at St. Agnes Cemetery.
After many years, I cherish John as a good-hearted, generous, easy-going, thoughtful, witty and fun-loving companion ‘ a good friend in so many ways, and best man at my wedding. My deepest sympathy to Noreen and J.J.
Dear Noreen and J.J.: We just returned from a week of vacation in Eagle Bay, NY on Saturday. I bought the D&C while there and was so shocked to read of John’s passing. I vividly remember the day you were married and the wonderful reception at Village on the Green in Corning, I believe. John was such a good man who Ellen and Mary Alice adored along with you and J.J. Peace and love to both of you.
Dear Noreen and JJ: I was so sorry to hear of John’s passing. I had the pleasure to care for John briefly a few years ago and will never forget his humor during a difficult time. He tried to take care of me as much as a I was trying to care for him.
I will keep John and your family in my prayers. Sincerely, Denise (from 53 Hancock St.)
I am Nanny Kay’s youngest, ‘Mary Elizabeth’ and just heard today of John’s passing. I am so sorry for your loss. I can remember him a little when I was small and visited Mary Alice and Ellen, he would pass through. But knowing Ellen I am sure he must have had a wonderful sense of humor. My prayers are with you.
For ten years, I taught English at Olympia High School and shared office space with John as well as several other English teachers. John was a constant and ready source of information, master of the written and spoken word. He was particularly adept at remembering quotes from Shakespeare to Frost or at composing a sentence to illustrate words’ meanings. I remember one instance when ‘effete’ was the word in question. Though armed with the correct definition, we needed someone to provide an example of usage in a sentence; one of the other teachers immediately posed the problem to John. After a few thoughtful minutes,he reeled off a sentence clearly illustrating the meaning. John was patient and kind; he did things quietly, shunning the ‘limelight.’ His dry sense of humor was ever-present. Even his handwriting strokes were tall, strong, and confident, reflecting his quiet intelligence and strength.
I met John twenty years ago through Meredith. Although we did not spend much time together, I knew much about John and his life from the stories Meredith shared with me. He was a wise man and a compassionate teacher – he touched and changed many lives in his years of teaching. When he was working at Barnes and Noble I would run into him – his love of books would show on his face. John was a fine man who’s life will go on in the young people’s lives that he touched. Good teachers live on in the gentle minds and memories of their students. JJ and Noreen, my prayers are with you.
I taught in the classroom next to John for several yearsat Greece Olympia in the 90’s. I had a class of very difficult students and John was always patient and understanding when they tested the limits. I know he touched the lives of many and his contribution to humanity lives in them.
If John was a teacher at Greece Olympia in the mid-60’s, then I remember him. I had him as a teacher and I’ve never forgotten him. He was as good to me as any teacher. God bless.
John was a dear friend and colleague who I knew for 39 years. His love of poetry was an inspiration
and we shared many hours of conversation. John had a wonderful sense of humor which delighted his friends and students.
John was an amazing teacher. Each day he started his classes with a poem, a poem that his students recited with him for a month… and then carried in their hearts.
John was a kind mentor. His wise words and his gentle soul were important gifts gladly offered for forty-three years.
John was a steadfast friend. He was an important member of the Larry Lunch, a respected guest at the district luncheons.
John’s strong voice, coming from a classroom next to mine is one of my best memories of him. He was reading a Hemingway short story, and I thought his voice perfectly matched the character. I enjoyed his wit, his in-depth thoughts abouty literature, and his willingness to call something false or inane if he thought it was. I admired him.
Mr. Stillhard’s was my teacher at Notre Dame High School in Elmira in 1963. I learned so much from him, lessons that shaped my life and who I am. For instance, he called his students ‘Mr. Jones’ or ‘Miss Brown’. On one or two occasions, he called me by my first name. Years later, I reflected on how his simple gesture of kindness mirrored for me how important it is to remember and to use a person’s name.
Mr. Stillhard was also generous, often giving money to the school’s many fundraisers. As an adult, I’ve seen his and Mrs. Stillhard’s names on donor lists of organizations where I’ve donated to also. Their generosity has helped many groups to stay afloat during tough economic times.
To me, it’s especially poignant that Teddy Kennedy died at about the same time that Mr. Stillhard did. It was Mr. Stillhard, our homeroom teacher, who remained strong and comforting to a bunch of scared 14-year olds the day John Kennedy was killed. Mr. Stillhard, John and Teddy Kennedy did indeed influence future generations.
My sympathies to you both, Noreen and J. J. I was saddened to hear of John’s passing when I returned from vacation on Saturday. It’s been a long time since we have been in contact, but I remember you all so fondly through our connection with Mary Alice and Ellen. I passed by St Agnes cemetery today, and stopped to say a little prayer: rest in peace cousin John.
Deep peace of the running waves to you,
Deep peace of the flowing air to you,
Deep peace of the smiling stars to you,
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you,
Deep peace of the watching shepherds to you,
Deep peace of the Son of Peace to you.
(Old Irish Prayer)
Thoughts and Prayers from Far away.
We are so sorry Noreen and J.J. It has been so many years but I remember such pleasant times together when we were much younger. I hope to see you on Thurs. but may not be able to come to his Mass. Take good care of yourselves.