John Stickle

Obituary of John Everett Stickle

John Everett Stickle, 81, of Merritt Island, Florida passed away peacefully in the wee hours of March 7th, 2024, surrounded by his loving family.  

He is survived by his beloved wife and best friend of 61-plus years, Mary Lee, and their three children, Lisa Marie (Marc Thornton), John Thomas (John Coppola), Joseph Vincent, granddaughter, Margrett, his younger brother Frank (Sharon), nieces, nephews, his 3-yr old puppy, Molly, and his 2 grand-furbabies, DixieLee and DaisyMae. John was predeceased by his older brother, Robert and sister, Carolyn. 

John was born in Binghamton, New York on April 12th, 1942, enlisting in the United States Navy in 1960. He met his future bride, Mary Lee, while stationed at Patrick Air Force Base, Cocoa Beach, 1962. They married October 4th, 1962, at Church of Our Saviour, Cocoa Beach and their traveling adventures began as a Naval couple, welcoming their three children over the next six years.  

A member of the Naval Security Group, (NAVSECGRU), John’s remarkable Naval career would take him and his family to destinations that most are only lucky to vacation to.  

After a 21-year career with the USN, he retired from Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in 1980 as a Chief Petty Officer and returned with his family to the “scene of the crime,” Merritt Island, Florida. During his tenure in Hawaii, he was the coach of his daughter’s softball team for two years, as well as a coach to the boy’s baseball team.  

Upon returning to Brevard County, John went to work on the Space Shuttle Program with Grumman Technical Services, and then, later to Northrop Grumman, where he worked for 16 years in Industrial Security as an Investigator.  While vacationing in Maui, Hawaii in September 2002, John made the decision to retire early from his second career.  

As a retiree, John volunteered at Cape Canaveral Hospital, Savannah’s Golf Course, Health First Healthplex, and at the Patrick Air Force Pharmacy. Letting no grass grow under his feet, he and Mary Lee lived an active retirement in Merritt Island, traveling much over the next 25 years, thanks to the benefits provided by their son, John Thomas, an employee of United Air Lines. John and Mary Lee enjoyed cruising, making four Transatlantic cruises, among so many other cruises with family and friends. San Francisco was a favorite destination to visit with their longtime friends of nearly 60 years.  

An active parishioner at Church of Our Saviour, he served as Eucharistic Minister for many years.  John’s Catholic faith was very important to him, and he lived it out daily. John was an avid golfer, master griller, and absolute HERO to his three children, with whom he instilled a strong sense of compassion, family, integrity, morals, values, and principles. He was a 10K runner and co-ed softball player during his Northrop Grumman days and worked out in the gym regularly throughout his retirement.  

Diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2017, John fought with strength and courage up until the moment he was called home for his “tee time” with Fr. Eamon Tobin, his longtime friend and golfing partner, who preceded him in death, 2021. As a “charter” member of the first Rock Steady Boxing (RSB) Program in Brevard when it began on Merritt Island in 2018, John was a determining and committed model for other boxers battling Parkinsons. John continued to be an active member at RSB until Covid changed things for everyone.  

John lived an extraordinary life, always a pillar of strength over adversity, a nearly 62-yr devotion to his wife, friends and family across the globe, and champion to all three of his children, love for all his furbabies, and all brought home by his kids. Known by many names over his lifetime: Chief, Coach, Mr. Stickle, Inspector12, Duke, Pops, Papa, and Dad, he will be forever missed, loved, and remembered as an enduring source of inspiration for all who knew and loved him.  

John's memorial mass will be held Monday, March 18th, 2024, at 10:30 am in the Church of Our Saviour, 5301 N Atlantic Ave, Cocoa Beach. The burial will be at 12:30 pm at the Cape Canaveral National Cemetery, 5525 US Highway 1 in Mims.  

In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to be made in John’s name to either of his two favorite charities, St. Jude’s Childrens’ Hospital or to The Parkinson’s Foundation. 

Share Your Memory of