John Niemeyer

Posted 3/11/21

John Niemeyer, 68, of Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, passed away Feb. 8, 2021. He was born in Elmhurst to the late Arthur and Mary Niemeyer.

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John Niemeyer


LAKE OF THE OZARKS, Missouri — John Niemeyer, 68, of Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, passed away Feb. 8, 2021. He was born in Elmhurst to the late Arthur and Mary Niemeyer.

John was a graduate of York High School where he excelled at basketball, football and baseball. He continued his education and athletic career at Northern Illinois University, graduating in 1974. He would later be inducted into NIU’s Hall of Fame.

After graduation John had a career as a PE teacher at Rochelle Township High School that spanned over 20 years. While at RTHS, he coached every sport they offered, but ultimately gave much of his time and love to the basketball program. Which, if you ever saw him at a game, you couldn’t miss the coach looking first class in a suit. This did not go unnoticed by his three littlest, but biggest fans growing up in the front row. Before and after games no one rocked a track suit and pearly white tennies better than he did. He would also spend time coaching golf, a sport he continued to enjoy and play up until his last days. His love of all sports and his competitive nature is something he passed on to his three daughters. They grew up learning the Super Bowl Shuffle, the curse of the Chicago Cubs, and the greatness that is Michael Jordan. He enjoyed playing slow pitch softball with his friends, pick-up games of basketball with kids in the neighborhood, and hitting the highest pop flies you have even seen to his girls in their back yard.

Due to his athletic adventures, he developed hands we lovingly referred to as the claws. Any injury, whether it be a broken finger, toe, or road rash from sliding into home plate can be fixed with athletic tape, just ask the claws. Many nights were spent with dad, and one of us, with a leg up over the kitchen sink rinsing gravel out of our legs after a game. All injuries incurred growing up were treated immediately with a quick exam. This consisted of no blood, no bone, and a walk it off; a phase that was said often, as over the years one of his graceful children would meet a patch of earth that tried to get them or a softball that didn’t hit quite right. He tried making it to as many games as he could over the years, which was no small fete, considering he had three daughters who all played varying sports. He drove 16 hours round trip so one could make it to her all-star game while on vacation, another 16 hours round trip so he didn’t miss senior night, he made it to as many school games, Little League games, All-Star games, and club games as possible, all while coaching his own games and trying to figure out which kid was playing where. I am sure he wished picture and picture, which he swore was one of the best things ever invented, was available to watch all of us play at the same time. He would always have multiple games going, plus the radio, because he liked some of their announcers better. It was not unusual to find him watching the game in his chair with a bowl of popcorn and his tumbler of Diet Coke close by growing up.

He will also go down as the best gift giver of all time. It was not unheard of for him to drive into Chicago, across the border to Wisconsin, or the ends of the earth for that matter, to find the perfect gift or item for his girls. No item was too big or too small or too far away for him to find. Each time leaving us shocked he had managed to find it, although after all these years, we shouldn’t have been.

Dad passed on his love for water sports, adventure, and amusement parks every summer on vacation. He loved taking his girls to ski and tube around the lake, as well as riding any roller coaster, as long as it didn’t go backwards or upside down.

He also passed on his love for food. Mentally kicking himself any time his girls saw crab legs on the menu while on vacation, he knew what was coming, and we know he secretly enjoyed it, even if his wallet didn’t. His cooking skills and love for Emeril will be missed by anyone who was lucky enough to have his Jesus gravy at Thanksgiving or see him kick it up a notch trying out his latest recipe.

He will always be remembered for his fabulous rendition of O, Canada by Pavarotti, jamming out to Frankie Valli, serenading us with Elvis, crooning along with Sinatra, sharing old Hitchcock movies, and his spot-on Jack Nicholson impressions. He saved his Columbo impersonation for a quick laugh or if we needed some serious cheering up. He loved to laugh and make others laugh, and if you ever heard his laugh, you will never forget it. He introduced his daughters to Carlin and Pryor, loved watching old episodes of Carson, couldn’t get enough of a National Lampoon’s Vacation, but he always laughed hardest when he “left a message” for us. He taught his daughters to measure twice, cut once, the lawn mower does not need to be run at full speed to cut the grass, how to change a tire, a gentleman will always open the door for you, and that no one, not even Danny Zuko himself, rocked sideburns and Riddell shorts better than he did.

On Dec. 13, 2014, John married his loving wife, Vonnie. She survives him, along with his daughters, Dawn, Jeana and Erin Niemeyer; his brother, Dave Niemeyer; and his niece and nephew.

He will be deeply missed by those that knew him and loved him. He was an amazing coach, teammate, friend, husband, and dad. He never met a stranger. It was a running joke that you couldn’t go anywhere without running into someone he knew. Seriously, this wasn’t just the grocery store or a quick run into town. Trips, vacations, restaurants, college, he always ran into someone he knew. We never tired of hearing stories about the Captain, Coach, Niemo, or John, depending on how they knew him.

Growing up, he always quoted Lombardi in saying “if you’re early, you’re on time….if you’re on time, you’re late….and if you’re late, don’t even bother showing up.” As someone who always had perfect timing, he left us way too early, but he wanted to make sure he got there on time. For the man who always showed up, who left us with a lifetime of happy memories, for being our home, we love you.
John’s family would like to thank the kind people at Hedges-Scott Funeral Home for their care at this difficult time.

Memorial Services are pending at this time until all family members can be in attendance.