John L. Stengl, age 74, of Birnamwood, died on Monday, January 11 at the Aspirus Wausau Hospice House. He was born on November 21, 1946, in Antigo, a son of Elmer and Avis (Rusch) Stengl. He married Nancy Gralla on January 2, 1979, in Hawaii.
John was a graduate of Antigo High School, class of 1965. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point in 1970.
He taught biology and anatomy in Alaska at Kenai Central and Soldotna High Schools. He retired in 1993. He also coached girls basketball, cross country, and track. He was a pilot and enjoyed flying to his favorite hunting, fishing, and trapping spots.
He returned to Wisconsin in 1994 where he built a house on the family property. He enjoyed his time raising Christmas and walnut trees and building trails through the woods. In the past few years, John developed a love for bluegill fishing from his kayak. He will be greatly missed by family and friends.
In addition to his wife, Nancy, survivors include three children, Matthew Stengl of Superior, Emily (Adam) Zalewski of Moncure, N.C. and Michael Stengl of Wausau; two granddaughters, Adalyn and Hazel Zalewski; two sisters, Audrey Stengl of Dallas, TX and Jean (Dan) Wheeler of Antigo; and a brother-in-law, Gary Steele of Hancock.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and two sisters, Ginger McDowell and Jennifer Steele.
No services will be held.
There are no events scheduled.
Just saw this Nancy. Mary and I are heartbroken. U and John were so nice to us. We will never forget our first invite to the wild game feed u hosted for years. We were quite new to the Soldotna area and were introduced to so many fantastic people at your house that we could never thank u enough.
I recall when John asked me to help reshingle your house off of K-Beach Road. We were on the roof and almost fell through at the chimney area. Bad plywood. John and I put 5 sheets of new plywood on and finished shingling the roof.
John is a man who lived his life well and we will miss him. Prayers to u and your family.
Dear Stengl Family,
I am so sad to hear about Mr. Stengl. He was a fantastic teacher and coach. You will all be in my prayers.
Angela Sauer Graf
Dear Stengl Family,
Just wanted to add something additional to my prior post. If you have access to Facebook, there is a page called Soldotna High Remembering Our Lost Loved Ones that you can join. Here our beloved Mr. Stengl is remembered by many and you may find the outpouring of loving words to be comforting. Just wanted to share.
Kathy Jacobsen (Timison)
Dear Stengle Family,
I am very saddened to hear of Mr. Stengles's passing. While it has been many years since I was in one of his science classes at SoHi, I still have such strong memories of loving his classes. I was so interested in science and he supported my crazy ideas, even including helping me to order fruit flies so I could perform genetic experiments in them! And of course I will never forget having to boil down and put together an animal. He was such an amazing teacher. I hope that very soon your memories of him will bring smiles instead of tears.
Jessica Neill Hoyson
Dear Mrs. Stengl (and the Stengl family)
I had been thinking about Mr. Stengl earlier in the day, and then I saw this post. I am so very sorry for your loss. Although your loss is the greatest, the world has lost one of the best science teachers ever.
PC Biology was the best course of my freshman year, and to this day, more than 38 years later, I can still remember kingdom phylum class order family genus species. Going out to collect specimens for class, and our weekly science reports - no messy paper bits from spiral bound notebooks or reader's digest sources allowed.
In Anatomy and Physiology my senior year, he told us (I don't know if this is true, of course) that you made him get his own freezer and put it in the garage for all the road kill he was collecting for our skeleton reconstruction projects. I was lucky enough to have drawn the porcupine from the hat - small enough to be easily stuffed into a giant pot to boil down everything off the bones, and large enough for the bones to be found and assembled. Woe to those who drew the lynx and the chickadee.
And that same year, your husband actually participated in a practical joke that the boys in class played on me. He might have felt a twinge of regret for allowing this to happen, but only after he stopped laughing. Merrick's pet tarantula had died over the weekend and he brought it to Anatomy class early to show Mr. Stengl. For whatever reason, they thought it would be a good idea to put it in my desk and cover it up with a plastic container. When I came to class, I wanted to remove the upside down plastic thing. And then I was screaming. I don't actually remember seeing the tarantula under the container on my desk, I just remember screaming.
Mr. Stengl really connected with the kids in his classes and we truly enjoyed learning from him. No one will ever forget his "test tie", and no one who had the honor of taking his classes will ever forget him.
My sincerest condolences and my greatest thanks for sharing your husband with us students. (And of course thank you for the freezer in the garage from which so many wonderful animals emerged )
Soldotna High School 1982-1986
My condolences to the family.Mr. Stengl was my CC coach at SoHi ‘80-‘82. My fondest memory was Halloween when he dressed up as “Super Stengl”. RIP Coach
Dear Nancy and Stengl family,
I can't say enough good things about Mr. Stengl. I have many fond memories of him as a teacher at Soldotna High School when I attended there (1986-1990). He always made learning fun, interesting and so interactive! Loved it! He was also my cross-country running coach - so encouraging and supportive. He instilled in me a confidence in myself that I didn't have before.
He will be missed dearly and I will always have wonderful memories of him.
May you find comfort and peace in knowing how many lives he touched.
Kathy Jacobsen (Timison)
To Nancy and Stengl Family,
Jan and I are so sad to hear John passed. Having both of you as teachers, and excellent ones at that, I will miss John’s laugh, fun loving teasing, his great smile, and his ability to get along with everyone. He was a master teacher in the sciences, a skilled hunter and fisherman, a good husband and father, and an adventurer. I am glad to have had John as my friend and I still miss his wild game feeds. May God bless you Nancy and your family. We will keep you in our prayers.
Greg and Jan Daniels
I am saddened to hear of Mr. Stengl’s passing. He was an amazing teacher and was so helpful and kind to me as a nervous new student who had just moved to Alaska in 1977. My prayers and thoughts are with you for peace and comfort.
I am so, so sorry to hear of Mr. Stengl's passing! He was one of my favorite teachers at Kenai Central High School in the early 70's. Sending my sincere and deep condolences to the family.
Nancy to you and your whole family Sammy and I send our Condolences! John and i did a lot together fishing, hunting, trapping and of course the wild game feeds. I still feel that john was one of my best friends. I still run into students who say John was one of the Best teachers they ever had!! and I agree! Wishing you ALL our very BEST in the coming years!! Bud & Sammy Crawford
Condolences to Nancy and the children Matthew, Emily and Michael. It is so sad to say goodbye to John. Always ready with a smile, a joke, a prank, a helping hand, John was always on the go. He seemed to have an interest in most everything but especially anything in nature. Fond memories from over fifty ears of friendship since college days will always be in our memory. John definitely had a mischievous sense of humor. One example I remember was on a fishing trip in Alaska. On a remote stream fishing for salmon, I mentioned concern about the numerous bear sign, to which John, with his usual grin, assured me "there is nothing to be worried about, I know I can run faster than you." That was John. The world is a poorer place for the loss of John, but a richer one for all whose lives he touched. Bless you John. You will not be forgotten.
We are saddened to read of John’s passing. He was such a good, kind man who shared great stories of his adventures. Heaven has gained a great man. Thoughts and prayers are with the Stengl family. ((Hugs))
Kathy and Don Solin
I wish my sincere condolences to Nancy, Matthew, Emily and Michael. That picture says so much about John...the contagious, maybe mischievous grin, the outdoor setting enjoying the many things life has to offer. I was fortunate enough to have known John from college days, 2 Alaskan adventures, numerous fishing and hunting events, sharing time with John and Nancy at their Door County condo, our annual reunion with the college gang, Christmas tree, to name just a few.
Nancy and "kids" our thoughts are with you. We have all lost a special person.
Dan and Carol Sambs
Our condolences to John’s family. We sat through many High School sporting events watching our kids.
Jean and Dan so sorry for your loss.