Cover photo for John Wilbert Pelch's Obituary
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John Wilbert Pelch

December 13, 1943 — August 6, 2023

St. Louis


John Wilbert Pelch died of natural causes on August 6, 2023 at the age of 79.

He was the son of the late Wilbert Pelch and Georgia (Pat) Luthenauer; loving father to his late daughter, Angela Pelch; and loving brother to the late Thomas Pelch and Kevin Luthenauer.

John is survived by his wife of 51 years, Bonnie Pelch; sister Marsha Luthenauer; granddaughter Rosemary (Andrew) Berberian; son-in-law Tim Cross; sisters-in-law Lois Luthenauer, Janet Hunt, and Diane Hampton; nieces Melissa Jordan, Madalyn Wichman, and Samantha Hampton; nephews Christopher (Danielle) Heaps, Frank Jordan, Justin (Erica) Wichman, Luke Hampton, and Jake Hampton; great nephew Eric (Carolina) Jordan; great nieces Leona (Jonathan) Rodriguez, Helena Jordan, Addison Wallis and Leigha Heaps; Godmother to Rosemary, Tine Vidouria; and several other loving relatives and friends. 

John grew up in St. Louis. After graduating from St. Mary’s High School, he joined the Air Force and worked his way from the enlisted ranks to an officer, retiring at the rank of Major. John served as a mental health flight nurse, and in the early 1970’s he supported the repatriation of surviving U.S. Prisoners of War from Hanoi, Vietnam to Clark Air Base, The Philippines. After his retirement, John returned to St. Louis, where he served as a hospital administrator at several medical centers in the area until he retired in 2012.

John was an exceptionally devoted man to his family, his country, and his community. He was known for his thoughtfulness and tremendous generosity. A role model and advocate, he encouraged and supported young members in his family in pursuit of their educational goals and career paths. He enjoyed engaging with people of different cultures and backgrounds and always had time for a conversation with neighbors of all ages. Upon returning from military service, he volunteered as a tennis coach to youth at his alma mater. John spent much of his free time with his companions at the Highlands Golf and Tennis Club in Forest Park, where he previously served on the club’s board of advisors and advocated for non-profit programs supporting recreational activities for young persons in St. Louis. John was also an avid reader and had a special talent for authoring haikus for his family members.

Charitable donations can be made to Zion United Methodist Church or to the Highlands Golf and Tennis Club AAA Youth tennis program at: Triple A Youth Foundation 7700 Forsyth Blvd. Suite 1800, St. Louis, MO 63105.


Visitation Thursday August 10, 2023, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. at John L. Ziegenhein & Sons South City Chapel, 7027 Gravois Ave., St. Louis, MO 63116. Funeral service the following morning, Friday August 11 at 10:00 a.m., immediately followed by a celebration of life reception at Highlands Golf & Tennis club. 


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of John Wilbert Pelch, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, August 10, 2023

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

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John L. Ziegenhein and Sons Funeral Homes - South City Chapel

7027 Gravois Ave
St. Louis, MO 63116

*Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Friday, August 11, 2023

Starts at 10:00 am (Central time)

Add to Calendar

John L. Ziegenhein and Sons Funeral Homes - South City Chapel

7027 Gravois Ave
St. Louis, MO 63116

*Standard text messaging rates apply.


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