John R. Alstadt, Jr. passed away peacefully on November 19, 2020 at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia with is partner, Elisabeth Vassas at his side. His two dear friends, Joseph and Laurie Swiski were also there to lend their support and to share some of his beloved "Du Wop” tunes. We made it as joyful of a send off as possible.
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John was born on November 28, 1947 to John Rogers Alstadt, Sr. and Jean Alice Brown in Erie, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Strong Vincent High School and Edinboro State (later University) where he received a Bachelors Degree in History.
In 2003 he received his Master’s Degree in History from West Chester University in PA.
John was appointed as a Delaware State Trooper on February 8, 1974. He started his career at DSP 1 Penny Hill, but served most of his time with the division as a Detective in the Criminalistics Unit Troop 2, State Road. He had a remarkable career as a criminalist, and was responsible for evidence on many of the state’s high profile cases, most notably the Steven Pennell serial murder case, where he served as the Chief Criminalist, on the state’s special task force from 1988-1990.
Shortly after, he was transferred to Headquarters in Dover and served on the newly created Homicide Unit, later serving as the Director of the Delaware State Police Crime Laboratory from 1991-1993. John retired as a Detective Sergeant from Troop 3 in Camden, DE on March 31, 1997. During his career with the division he became the resident historian, and upon retirement, as a Curator for the Delaware State Police Museum. He at that time put his research and writing skills to use, and was responsible for authoring two books, and assisting in the production of the 75th Anniversary book. On December 20, 2013 John retired as a Curator having served the State of Delaware for 39 years.
John was first and foremost a historian at heart and later directed his research talent to Old Dover. He purchased one of the historic homes near the Green, of which he was immensely proud. His home was beautifully featured in an issue of “Delaware Today"’ noting his attention to detail, and the home’s history.
He began giving popular walking tours of Old Dover, focusing on The Green. John dressed in period clothing and regaled the visitors with ghost stories, and most notably historic crimes that had occurred. He wrote a book on one, “With Love to Yourself and Baby: The Story of the Poison Candy Murder Case”, that happened in Dover in 1898. The News Journal featured John’s unique tours in an article they published titled “ The Histories of Mysteries.” They noted he combined his past career as a former state police detective and his knowledge of crime, with his love of history.
More than anything John enjoyed and shared his beloved partner Elisabeth’s love of travel. The two shared in so many adventures, traveling the world, over their many years together. His favorite place to be was Greece followed closely by Scotland. Later the two shared a home in Newcastle Maine, which John loved visiting whenever he could.
John is survived by his loving partner Elisabeth A. Vassas of Dover, DE, and his three beloved dogs, a brother, Scott Clayton Alstadt and his family of Aqua Dulce, California. Many family members, and dear friends that loved and will miss him deeply. A Celebration of Life will be planned at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory can be made to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah or Delaware Humane Association 701 A Street, Wilmington, DE 19801.
Life End Services by Michael J. Ambruso Funeral Director, Inc. Dover, DE. Condolences and memories may be shared via www.ambruso.com.