John M. Urling, 75, loving husband and father of three sons, passed away peacefully at home after a lengthy illness of pulmonary fibrosis.
John was born on January 21, 1944, in Steubenville, Ohio, to George A. and Ruth (Keiser) Urling. He graduated from Steubenville High School in 1962, attended The College of Wooster in Ohio, and graduated with a business administration major and a psychology minor in 1971 from Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin.
In 1965, John was drafted into the U.S. Army, and graduated from the Artillery and Missile Officer Candidate School in Fort Sill, Oklahoma. From 1966 to 1967, he was an artillery forward observer in the Vietnam War. He was awarded the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry and the Bronze Star for Valor, along with the Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and Good Conduct Medal. He was honorably discharged at the rank of Captain in 1968. John loved his country and proudly flew the American flag every day at his home.
In the historic summer of 1969, John entered Northland College to finish his degree. He met Sheila Dale his first night on campus, and they fell in love while sharing their common interest in that turbulent time. On February 12, 1972, at St. Agnes Church, John married Sheila, the love of his life. Three sons blessed their lives: Scott, Michael, and David. John was a loyal family man, and enjoyed family and friend gatherings.
He worked as an accountant at Ashland Community Hospital, and was the Chief Financial Officer during the transition to Memorial Medical Center. His next work was a Northland College Admissions Counselor, followed by Director of Admissions. He also worked part-time as a park ranger for Big Bay State Park and as a US Postal Service Route Carrier. In 1985, John started work as the Ashland County Veteran’s Service Officer, remaining in that position for 20 years until his retirement in 2006. He felt that serving veterans and their dependents was his best and most rewarding work.
John loved the outdoors and enjoyed hunting, fishing, camping, and his activities in the Rod and Gun Club. He played softball, tennis, and golf; was a great fan of the Green Bay Packers and Milwaukee Brewers; and followed numerous sports enthusiastically. He was a life member of the Vietnam Veterans of America, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Chequamegon Veterans. For 47 years, John was a member of the B.P.O. Elks Lodge #137, serving as Exalted Ruler from 1984-1985, and as a trustee. He was a Little League coach, a poll worker, and served as a board member of United Presbyterian Congregational Church and Friends of Vaughn Library. He loved the Lord and enjoyed volunteering for Faith in Action in his retirement, along with driving veterans to VA hospitals and appointments.
John is survived by his wife of 47 years, Sheila; sons Scott of Cottage Grove, Minnesota; Michael of Biddeford, Maine; and David of Washburn, Wisconsin; his sister, Jane Urling of Ashland; brother George (Kim) Urling of Holland, Michigan; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents.
A Memorial Service for John will take place on Friday, June 7, at 11:00 a.m., at United Presbyterian Congregational Church in Ashland, with Reverend James Deters officiating. A gathering of family and friends will start at 9:00 a.m. Interment will take place with Military honors under the auspices of the United Chequamegon Area Veterans in Mount Hope Cemetery, Ashland, WI.
Memorials may be made to United Presbyterian Congregational Church, 214 Vaughn Ave; or Regional Hospice, 1913 Beaser Ave., Ashland, WI, 54806.
Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the Mountain Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Ashland and Mellen, WI.
Online condolences for John’s family may be left at MountainFuneralHomes.com.