Mary Joan Kirchner

Mary Joan Kirchner, a world traveler but foremost a proud Virginian, passed away March 3 at Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center after a long illness.
Mary Joan is survived by Ted Kirchner, her husband of 65 years, and by seven children, their spouses and families: John, his wife Cindy and their three children, Nicholas (Meagan), Peter and Alex; Robert (Diane) and their two children, Lauren and Jonathan; Paul (Joan) and their two children, Stephen and Taylor; Ted (Lydia) and their two children, Vanessa and Brian; Bruce (Allison) and their three children, Neil, Jay and Matthew; Tim; and Mary Joan's and Ted's youngest child, Joan.
Born November 20, 1925, in Dayton, Ohio, to Mary Loos Holt and Henry Jack Holt, a career U.S. Army officer, Mary Joan, along with her brothers Jack and Elmore, was an "Army brat" but lived almost her entire life in Virginia. She graduated from Norfolk's Granby High School and was an alumna of Dunbarton College of the Holy Cross in Washington, D.C. For several years she taught elementary school in Arlington, Va.
Mary Joan and Ted raised their seven children in McLean, Va., before settling in Williamsburg in 1997, where she was a devout member of St. Bede Catholic Church and a fanatical golfer at Ford's Colony Country Club.
Mary Joan was well known for her sense of humor and artistic flair. An enthusiastic computer user, she was an early adopter of new technologies from Pac-Man through Facebook to the iPad. She also sewed, knitted, wrote poetry and made jewelry and greeting cards when not reading voraciously – especially history, from which she developed an encyclopedic knowledge of topics ranging from the American Civil War to European royalty. She was a lover of all things French and was devoted to three French saints, praying to Saint Joan of Arc for strength, Saint Therese of Lisieux for knowledge and Saint Bernadette for piety.
Mary Joan was a committed member of the Heritage Humane Society Auxiliary and will be remembered for staffing the dog sweater sales table at the Society's annual Christmas bazaar at Bruton Parish. She also is survived by the best dog ever, Buddy, her Japanese Chin.
The family will receive friends 4-6 p.m. Thursday, March 7 at Nelsen Funeral Home, 3785 Strawberry Plains Rd., Williamsburg. A funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, March 8 at St. Bede Catholic Church, 3686 Ironbound Rd., Williamsburg. A reception will follow the Mass. Private interment at Arlington National Cemetery will be at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Heritage Humane Society ( or the ( Online condolences may be expressed at

Funeral Home

Nelsen Funeral Home - Williamsburg
3785 Strawberry Plains Rd. Williamsburg, VA 23188
(757) 565-1141

Published in Virginia Gazette from Mar. 6 to Apr. 5, 2013