Chaplain John H. DuVal, born in Baltimore in 1926, went home to the Lord on 19 October. During World War II he left high school and joined the Naval Air Corps, becoming a radioman, radar operator, and gunner in a patrol bomber squadron. He met Lorraine (Judy) Zieler, at the local skating rink and they were married in June 1945. After the war he earned his GED, perfected his skating, taught young skaters and directed several skating shows. He wrote some of the tests required to achieve varying levels of skating performance. He and Judy won numerous roller skating dance championships. John also had a passion for electronics from his Navy experience and actually built his first computer and his color television from a HeathKit.
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He was offered the job of professional skater at the Alexandria Arena and he and Judy and their first daughter, Judy, moved to Virginia. When the Billy Graham Crusade came to the Arena, John made his confession of faith. Soon he was leading the church youth group at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Alexandria. The pastor, a retired Army chaplain, inspired John to study for the ministry. He enrolled at Lynchburg College in Virginia and became the first student from Lynchburg to graduate from Harvard Divinity School. He served three years as associate pastor at First Christian Church in Hagerstown, MD, where their second daughter, Kimberly, was born. In 1962 John went into the Army Chaplain Corps.
During his Army career, he served in Germany, Turkey, and Korea, where he adopted his third daughter, Joy. He retired as a colonel in 1980 with 29 years of combined military service. He and Judy returned to Germany where he served as a civilian chaplain with the National Security Agency. He lost his first wife to breast cancer and remarried Beverly Hart (Keller) in 1992.
John was a soft-spoken, kind and gentle man who touched the lives of many. God blessed him with a special gift for connecting with others. He loved life: music, the ballet, the theatre, photography, his family, his many friends, and golf. He was a life-long member of Henry Knox Field Lodge No. 349 in Alexandria, VA.
He is survived by wife, daughters, Judy DuVal Sweet, Kimberly (Rudy) Hedgpeth, and Joy (Maurice) Allen, in addition to seven grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren, two stepsons, and three step-grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at Sun City Christian Church, 9745 W. Palmeras, in Sun City at 10:30 AM on Saturday, November 2nd. Interment will be later at Arlington National Cemetery. Those wishing to make a donation in John's memory may send it to the Ministerial Relief and Assistance Fund, Pension Fund of the Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, 130 E. Washington Street, Indianapolis, IN, 46204-3659.
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Published in Daily News-Sun on Oct. 31, 2013