John was born July 4, 1920 in Ottumwa, IA, the eldest child of John T. and Vera (Nash) Phleger. He graduated from Ottumwa schools, Graceland Junior College, and the University of Iowa for both his undergraduate and Master’s degree with additional credits also earned. During World War II he served in the 71st Division, 66th Infantry attached to the 3rd Army in the European Theater Operations. He received a Combat Infantryman’s Badge, 2 Bronze Battle Stars and the usual ribbons given to discharged soldiers. He was united in marriage to Lorraine Kos on June 5, 1947, in Iowa City, IA. She survives.
John started his professional career as a teacher of mathematics at the Washington, IA Junior High School progressing through the ranks of Junior High Principal, High School Principal, Assistant Superintendent, and Superintendent of the Washington Schools. During his tenure there he implemented closing of country schools and the building of the Junior High School. He then accepted the position of Administrator of the Geneseo, IL schools. The building of Millikin School, Southwest School, the Athletic Field, and additions to the High School and Northside School were among the accomplishments achieved during his employment.
While in Washington he was a member of the JCs and was chosen Outstanding Young Man of 1955. He participated in the Rotary Club and the Golf Club. He chaired the County Polio Foundation during the crisis of the 1950’s. After his move to Geneseo he again was a member of the Rotary Club, enjoyed playing golf, bridge and poker with friends, did taxes for AARP, and served as treasurer of the Geneseo Investment Club. As a member of First United Methodist Church he was chairman of building the educational wing addition and later served during the remodeling of the church sanctuary. His hobby was numismatics and he enjoyed sharing it with children. Both he and his wife experienced travel in Canada, Great Britain, Germany, and Eastern Europe. They participated in many Elderhostels. He was a member of the American Legion, the Moose Lodge, and the Retired Teachers Association of Illinois.
Survivors include his wife, Lorraine; a son and daughter-in-law, John R. and DeDe Phleger, Phoenix, AZ; a daughter, Jane Phleger, Barrington, IL; and three granddaughters, Amy Phleger (fiancé, Mike Monhollen), Murfreesboro, TN, Allison (Ken) Edmonds, Mount Juliet, TN, and Kathryn Stromquist, New Orleans, LA. Other survivors include his sisters, Louise (Clarence) Nath, Republic, MO, and Donna Crawford, Dexter, IA; a brother, Gary (Shirley) Phleger, Wayzata, MN; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, James; brother-in-law, Byron Crawford, and a sister-in-law, Velma.