John B. Lapetina, Sr., DDS|
Norfolk - Dr. John B. Lapetina, Sr., 89, passed away January 13, 2014 in his home on the Chesapeake Bay. Dr. Lapetina is survived his wife of 55 years Margaret Ann Bunting Lapetina, his daughter Dr. Joanne Lapetina, son-in-law Kenneth Clark, son Dr. John B. Lapetina, Jr., daughter-in-law Maria Lapetina and beloved grandchildren Sophia Grace Clark, Ethan Alexander Clark, and Elana Rose Lapetina.
Dr. Lapetina was born and raised in the Ocean View section of Norfolk. He attended Ocean View Elementary School, Blair Junior High School, and graduated from Granby High School in 1942. Because of the war, he entered the Army Air Force and trained as a C-47 radio operator. Sent to England to prepare for the D-Day invasion, he served with the 92nd squadron of the 439 troop carrier group attached to the 101st airborne division. His squadron was the very first into Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944, towing in two gliders. Dr. Lapetina was also involved in Southern and northern France invasions, a Holland invasion, the Rhine River crossing, and the Battle of the Bulge. His squadron also flew gasoline to General Patton in Germany and transported released prisoners of war. For his service, Dr. Lapetina was awarded wings, the Presidential Unit Award, the Eastern European ribbon, one silver star, one bronze star, the Gold Battle of Normandy medal, a French-awarded diploma, and the Good Conduct medal.
After the war, Dr. Lapetina attended the University of Maryland and graduated in 1950 with a Bachelor of Science degree. He attended the Medical College of Virginia-Virginia Commonwealth University and graduated in 1956. He practiced dentistry in Ocean View for 33 years until his 1989 retirement.
A lover of the Chesapeake Bay and an avid fisherman, Dr. Lapetina was a member of both the Tidewater Anglers and Cape Charles Anglers Clubs. He was selected by Governor Charles Robb to serve as vice-chair on the Virginia Marine Resources Fishery Management Board. He was also chosen by Governor Baliles to serve on the State Public Beach Board. He was a member of many service clubs including The Ocean View Shriners Club and a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3160 Ocean View. John was one of the original founders of the Citizens Coalition for Good Government. He was a member of the Tidewater Dental Association, Virginia State Dental Association, and the American Dental Association. Dr. Lapetina was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Medical College of Virginia-Virginia Commonwealth University for two three-year terms. In 1991, he was honored by receiving the Outstanding Alumnus of the Year Award.
"Life has been tough, but fun. My advice is to live each day like it's your last one on earth. Enjoy it and thank the Lord Jesus for all his blessings. A life of service to others was the greatest gift the Good Lord gave me."
John was a life-time member of Miles Memorial United Methodist Church as asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be given to the church.
The family will receive friends at Hollomon-Brown Funeral Home, Tidewater Drive Chapel on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The funeral will be conducted at 11 a.m. Friday, Jan. 17, 2014 at Miles Memorial United Methodist Church by Rev. John Haynes. Burial will follow in Forest Lawn Cemetery. Condolences may be offered to the family at www.hollomon-brown.com
Published in The Virginian Pilot on Jan. 15, 2014