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John P. Staffieri, Major, USMC (Ret.), 78

John P. Staffieri, Major, USMC (Ret.), 78

John P. Staffieri Major, USMC (Ret.), 78, passed away at home on Aug. 18, 2013.

Raised in Atlantic City, N.J., he entered military service at a young age. The final 17 years of his life were spent in Hendersonville, where he was active in the Marine Corps League. He was preceded in death by his brother Ray Staffieri and his sister Eleanor Portner.

John is survived by his loving wife of 42 years, Dorothy Staffieri; daughter Renee Staffieri and her husband Jeff Nester of Hendersonville; son, Ray Staffieri and his wife Gail of Herndon, Va.,; and daughters, Anne Meeks of Sterling, Va., and Tracy St. John of Bristow, Va. Also surviving are his grandsons, Daniel Staffieri, Jacob Narvaez, Jonathan Staffieri, and Colin Staffieri; granddaughters, Christine Chow, Brook Henson; three great-grandchildren; sister, Helen Ravielli of Claremont, Fla.; and beloved niece, Karin Brooks.

John joined the Army National Guard at age 14 so he could march and play the bugle, then he enlisted in the Navy at age 15. At age 16 a security check of his ship revealed John was underage and he was discharged, but it didn't stop him. Still 16, he enlisted in the Marines and was sent to Korea where he fought in Seoul. Later, while laying telephone wire, he was blown out of a tree and left for dead by the enemy; then taken to Japan to recuperate. Not hearing from him, his sister contacted the Marine Corps and revealed his youth, but John turned 17 in time and as a corporal with an exemplary record, was allowed to remain a Marine.

His duty tours included Korea, London Embassy, Recruiting Duty, Beirut, Vietnam, Paris Island Drill Instructor, Okinawa, and later Japan. As a temporary officer during Vietnam; he carried concurrent officer and enlisted ranks, earning the highest of the enlisted. Then, as an administrator, he was selected as a Regular Officer.

John's caring personality took him to the Casualty Department, headquarters USMC, Washington, DC, for two tours. There he set up the casualty procedures and helped families of Marines who had fallen in Vietnam. He was the first to escort a deceased Marine foreign national back to his homeland for burial (Scotland). John retired from Camp Lejeune, NC.

Among his many military awards are: Navy Achievement Medal w/ "V" and star, Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation w/ 2 stars, Navy Unit Commendation w/ 1 star, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Good Conduct Medal w/ 3 stars, Navy Occupation Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal w/ 2 stars, Vietnam Service Medal w/ 1 star, Korean Presidential Unit Citation, Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation Gallantry Cross w/ Palm, United Nations Service Medal, and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.

After military retirement, John returned to Atlantic City and worked as an administrator with the NJ Casino Control Commission until he and Dorothy returned to North Carolina.

Burial with Military Honors will be held in Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.

An online register book is available for family and friends by visiting www.thosshepherd.com.

Thos. Shepherd & Son Funeral Directors and Cremation Memorial Center is in charge of arrangements.