John D. Edgerton of Williamsburg passed away in Richmond on Oct. 28, 2012, of complications from a long illness. He was 84.
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Visitation will be held 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov 6, at Nelsen Funeral Home, 3875 Strawberry Plains Rd. in Williamsburg. The funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday Nov. 7, at Nelsen Funeral Home. John Proctor, Chaplain for Patrick Henry Chapter 34 of the Disabled American Veterans, will be officiating. Burial is being planned at Arlington National Cemetery at a future date.
He was a decorated war veteran who spent the rest of his life assisting military veterans and standing up for their cause. He was also a key business leader of Williamsburg and York County as well as a dedicated civic leader.
John was born in Ashland, Wisconsin, on May 21, 1928. He graduated from Battle Creek High School in Michigan in 1945 and earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan State College after serving in the U.S. Marine Corps at the end of World War II.
John served as member of the Williamsburg Planning Commission. He was a past President of the Williamsburg Chamber of Commerce and the Williamsburg Kiwanis Club. Kiwanis president said, "One of John's most notable contributions to Kiwanis was the acquisition of a $60,000 matching grant from the DAV to support the purchase of the CHKD Pediatric Mobile Intensive Care Unit. Those who had the pleasure of knowing John say that he was simply a genuine and generous person."
John was married to Mary Inez Gearing on June 16, 1950. They were married 62 years. He was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army upon graduation from Michigan State in August 1952, and served in combat in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. He was highly decorated during his Army career, receiving commendations that include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star for Heroism, multiple Air Medals, and a Purple Heart while commanding the 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division in Vietnam. He served at the Pentagon in the office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1965 to 1967, and the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk from 1969 to 1971, as he rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
Upon retirement from the Army in 1971, John became a resident of Williamsburg and began a career as a business leader with positions at Peninsula Savings & Loan and Bay Savings Bank as a vice president and branch manager, and later as the Director of Industrial Development for York County.
John continued to be dedicated to serving military veterans and was instrumental in establishing a Peninsula Chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, and the Patrick Henry Chapter #34 of the Disabled American Veterans, where he served as the Commander of both organizations. He also served as the Executive Director for the DAV Thrift Stores and grew the retail organization from one to six stores over ten years. He was appointed a Military Aide de Camp to the Governor of Virginia for the Army and National Guard, serving Governors Allen, Gilmore, Warner, Kaine and McDonnell. Gov. Warner appointed him to the Joint Leadership Council of Veterans' Service Organizations. He also served on the Veterans Advisory Council of the Virginia War Memorial. He served on the national level with the Military Order of the Purple Heart as the Commander of the Virginia Department. He also founded the 8th Infantry Regiment of Society as a chapter of the 4th Infantry Association.
John is survived by his spouse Mary G. Edgerton of Williamsburg; his sister Mary E. Runyard of St. Petersburg FL; his children J. David Edgerton of Chesapeake, Jo Edgerton Heath, her husband Todd and Amy E. Rose, her husband Ruddy, of Richmond, and Thomas William Edgerton and his wife Angela, of Bedford; his grandchildren Katherine T. Rose and Sarah H. Rose of Richmond, Emily M. Edgerton and Todd E. Edgerton of Chesapeake, Candice P. Heath of Hampton, and Thomas Elias Edgerton of Bedford, and other family and friends.
John is preceded in death by his parents Emerson William Edgerton and Josephine Goold Edgerton and sister, Martha E. Sovern of Battle Creek, MI.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be given to the Patrick Henry Chapter 34 of the Disabled American Veterans, PO Box 372, Norge VA 23127.
The family of John D. Edgerton wishes to thank Our Lady of Hope in Richmond for the compassionate and loving care they provided during the last two years of his life.
Published in Virginia Gazette from Nov. 2 to Dec. 1, 2012