John Engstrom

November 11, 1946 - March 13, 2024

Visitation: Visitation, with family present, will be Saturday, April 27, 2024 from 10:00 a.m. to noon at St. John’s Lutheran Church 600 6th Ave. Des Moines, IA.

Service: A prayer service and time of sharing will be held at 10:30 a.m.  Saturday, April 27, 2024 at St. John’s Lutheran Church 600 6th Ave. Des Moines, IA

Service: Burial of his cremains will take place at 3:00 p.m. at Amsterdam Township Cemetery in Kanawha, IA. 

John Edward Engstrom, age 77, formerly of Des Moines, IA, passed away unexpectedly of natural causes on Wednesday, March 13, 2024 in Sioux Falls, SD. Visitation, with family present, will be Saturday, April 27, 2024 from 10:00 a.m. to noon at St. John’s Lutheran Church 600 6th Ave. Des Moines, IA.  A prayer service and time of sharing will be held at 10:30 a.m.  Burial of his cremains will take place at 3:00 p.m. at Amsterdam Township Cemetery in Kanawha, IA.  In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Food Bank of Iowa.

John was born on November 26, 1946 in Fort Dodge, Iowa to Edward and Bessie (Nelson) Engstrom. He grew up on the family farm near Kanawha, IA. John was baptized and confirmed at Kanawha Lutheran Church and graduated from Kanawha High School in 1965. He attended Waldorf College for two years and then he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in History and Spanish from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD. He furthered his education with degrees in Information Processing, Travel and graduate work in History and English as a Second Language. John was also honored to receive the Governor’s Volunteer Service Award in Des Moines.

John spent most of his career as a teacher. He loved to travel in his spare time, visiting all 50 states and 16 countries. John also enjoyed making photo albums of his adventures and attending family reunions. He lived in Des Moines for 47 years and made many friends there. For the last two years he lived at Trail Ridge in Sioux Falls and really appreciated the Trail Ridge community.  John was a member of the Sons of Norway, the Riceville Jaycees, and CAST (Catholic Adult Singles Together). He collected WWII and Hank Aaron memorabilia and loved watching the Iowa Hawkeyes, Atlanta Braves and Dallas Cowboys.

Grateful for sharing his life are his sisters, Mary Beth (John) Smith and Sarah Abbas; nieces and nephews, David (Tracy) Smith, Mark (Kelly) Smith, Julie Larson (Chris McIntyre), Matthew Abbas, and Stephanie Abbas (fiancé Kevin Lochner); great-nieces and nephews, Caleb (fiancée Brooke), Joshua, Seth, Gavin, Ben, Adelyn, Zoe, and Eli; along with many extended relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents and brother-in-law, Don Abbas.

John will be remembered for his warmth and friendliness and he will be greatly missed by his family and friends.  www.andersonandsonsfh.com

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  1. Paul Holland on March 24, 2024 said:

    My cousin John was an unfailingly cheerful and friendly person, who had an impish sense of humor. One year John sent us a photo card where he was dressed up as Abraham Lincoln wearing a top hat! I’ve known John nearly all of my life. I still fondly remember playing with him on his family’s farm in Iowa when we were kids, and the many enjoyable times that we spent together at family gatherings and reunions over the years since. He will be missed…

  2. Dennis Burlingame on April 8, 2024 said:

    I’ve known John for 40 years we met in Des Moines. He and I attended movies and concerts together and he visited us in midland texas and San Diego California. He was the best man at my wedding in 1985. Last time I saw him last September at Clayton county fair. I loved hill like a brother .

  3. Carol Dittmer on April 10, 2024 said:

    My deepest sympathy in the loss of your brother, John. John and I have been good friends for over 25 yrs. We met at St. John’s Lutheran Church, downtown DSM. I had John over for meals at special times, and had birthday parties for him. We kept in touch after he moved to S.Dakota. We talked on the phone. We recently got a postcard from him, while in Vegas. When our Easter card was returned to me, and I tried to call John with no luck, my daughter found this great picture, but told me John was dead. Would you please let me know if John was sick, or what happened to him. I am deeply sadded that my husband and I have lost our good friend.