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  • Fairbury News staff

Obituary: Stiles




John Richard Stiles, 76, of Fairbury, passed away at 1:24 pm, Friday, November 25, 2022 at McLean County Nursing Home, Normal.


Cremation rites have been accorded with a family celebration of his life at a later date. Duffy-Pils Memorial Home, Fairbury is in charge of arrangements. Memorial contributions in John’s name may be directed to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.


John was born November 6, 1946, in Galesburg the son of John E. and Shirley A. (Paden) Stiles. He married Linda Davis on May 18, 1999 in Pontiac. His wife, Linda survives. His parents and two sisters, Carol Anne Stiles and Mary Beth Colburn preceded him in death.


Other survivors include, two daughters, Lori Shannon (Jason) Schwarm of Bettendorf, IA; Carrie Anne (Brent) Sample of Urbandale, IA; two step-sons, Otis Smith of Wellston, OH; Rick Murray of Cropsey; one brother, Mark (Kathy) Stiles of Hurst, TX; and five grandchildren, Jacob Schwarm, Emma Schwarm, Sara Sample, Ryan Sample, Brandon Smith.


Mr. Stiles served our country in Vietnam in the US Army, 101st Airborne and received a medal of commendation. He graduated from Western Illinois University with a degree in political science. He began his career in journalism in 1971 at the Macomb Daily Journal.


Over the span of 44 years, he worked at multiple newspapers in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, New Mexico, and Texas. He worked every job in the newspaper business, including sports writer, investigative reporter, assistant editor, editor, and general manager. He received numerous awards for his outstanding journalism. He never called it a job. There was nothing he loved more than the newsroom and all the people in it. He often said, “I am not the best speller, or even the best writer, but I am the best newspaperman in the room”.


John loved baseball and handed down the art of scorekeeping to his daughters. He was an avid runner for years and completed 2 marathons. He mocked golf for most of his life until he finally fell in love with it. He was thrilled to be able to golf at St. Andrews. He was a proud grandpa. Papa Rich was always the loudest fan at Jacob’s wrestling matches, Emma’s volleyball and cross country, Sara’s band performances, and Ryan’s cross country and baseball games. He was one of a kind and left a lasting impression everywhere he went. He will be truly missed by so many.

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