John William Elftmann, Jr. Colonel USAF (Ret)

John William Elftmann, Jr. Colonel USAF (Ret)

John was born in Berwyn, Illinois, on August 17, 1933, and passed away peacefully on July 28, 2021, the son of John Sr. and Earla (Oshel) Elftmann and brother of Lillian Jane.

Following college John joined the Air Force and began a 30 year career that stationed him in Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Germany, and numerous stateside locations.  For his service he earned the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Airman’s Medal, and Bronze Star.

John married Martha “Marty” Shook on June 6, 1959, and they enjoyed 62 years of wedded bliss.  They raised three children as the Air Force moved the family around the country and over to Germany before he retired in Bellevue, Nebraska.

After retiring from the Air Force he enjoyed successful careers at Mutual of Omaha and First Data Corporation which relocated him to London, England.  Eventually, John retired for good and he and Marty made their way to Blair, Nebraska.

Although retired, John did not settle down and spent many years as a volunteer driver for the Motorist Assist unit of the Nebraska State Patrol.  He and Marty continued to travel the world and he enjoyed hosting his children and grandchildren at his “house on the hill” in Blair.

John is survived by his wife Martha “Marty”, daughter Karin Elftmann-Gross (Jimmie), daughter Linda Hanson (David), son John (Karen), grandchildren Rachel Lucas (Kevin), Matthew Moore, Rebecca Cartwright (Mike), Patrick Hanson, Christina Hanson, Sarah Elftmann, John “Jack” Elftmann, and 6 great-grandchildren.

Lastly, John never stopped looking for William/Bill “Deano” Dean with whom he served in Vietnam.  The family would greatly appreciate contact info for Bill or his family.  Please email

Visitation:  Saturday, August 7, 3:00-4:30 p.m., followed by

Funeral Service:  at 4:30 p.m., both at Bellevue Memorial Funeral Chapel.

To view video of the funeral service, click the link below:

Interment:  Monday, August 9, 1:00 p.m., Omaha National Cemetery

To view video of the graveside service, click the link below:

Military Honors:  Offutt Air Force Base Honor Guard and American Legion Post 331.

Memorials: Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund ( and Cure Alzheimer’s Fund (


  • Charlie Potock Posted August 4, 2021 4:47 pm

    John and Marty shared wonderful memories with our “lost youth” of the Air Force days.
    I send heartfelt sympathy to all of the family.
    Charlie Potock

  • Ken Vrana Posted August 5, 2021 1:29 pm

    I worked under John at First Data from 1988 to 1991. He gave me my first opportunity in management when he hired me as manager of the Other Products training department. He also served as my mentor, encouraging me, guiding me, and providing me with opportunities to learn and to grow. While he had high expectations of his staff and could be a stern disciplinarian, he could also be compassionate and kind, as I had personal occasions to experience. He was a man of both honesty and integrity and I’m thankful I had the opportunity to work with him.

  • Bill Turkington Posted August 6, 2021 8:06 pm

    John was and will be one of my life mentors. Working for him at HQ SAC was so inspirational & educational. Sharing stories, basketball & golf games and annual bets on the NCAA Basketball finals was a Joy. We will miss you John. Love & peace to the family. Barb & Bill Turkington

  • Dr. Ronald Hei Posted August 7, 2021 4:48 pm

    Martha. I’m sorry for your loss, without saying. I remember you well. As you know, John and I were not the “best of friends”, but all things have to be set aside in perspective of the greater good. I hope you are well and will continue to be. Its been a long, long time, hasn’t it? Peter Smith has kept me abreast of things in the 40 years since I retired. A little overwhelming sometimes isn’t it? Ron

  • CMSgt John Richard Porath Posted October 24, 2023 1:55 pm

    I am so sorry to hear of the loss of Colonel John. I worked for him for several years while in the USAF. I will always remember him as a kind and generous person and who trusted his subordinates to do the right thing. He will be missed.

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