John was born May, 10, 1938, in Spencer, Ia. to Walter and Dorothy (Green) Sullivan. He graduated from Spencer High School in 1956 and from Iowa State Teacher's College (UNI) in 1960. He also received his Master's degree from there in 1961. He played football at Iowa State Teacher's College for four years. John re-started and coached the football program at Ellsworth Community College, in Iowa Falls from 1961-1966 until he took over the program at Simpson College in Indianola in 1966-1970. John is in the Athletic Hall of Fame as a coach at both schools. He left coaching in 1970 and starting selling sporting goods for Vic Young's Sporting Goods in West Des Moines. After 12 years he left that field and went into sales.
He and his wife of 47 years, Georgiana, lived in Indianola from 1966-1998. They then lived at Sun Valley Lake in southern Iowa where they entertained many friends and family for several years. In 1997, they built their dream retirement home in Chandler, Ariz. where they both retired in 2000. John's hobbies included golf, travel, fishing, boating, playing FreeCell, gambling, playing any kind of cards, mowing the lawn, and spending time with family and friends. In the last months of his life, he was able to spend time with family back in Iowa, living next door to his son, Joel and family, and close to his son, Micheal and his family.
John is survived by his sons: Micheal and his wife, Colleen and their daughter, Deirdre (15), and Joel and his wife, Aileen, and their sons: Lane (7) and Leo (3); and his brothers, Michael and Richard.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Georgiana.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society or the Sunbird Resort PA System fund.
Adams Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences may be made at www.adamssoderstrum.com.