John Joseph Kokoruda Jr., 86, Army veteran and loving patriarch of a large family

WYDaily.com is your source for free news and information in Williamsburg, James City & York Counties.

John KokorudaJohn Joseph Kokoruda Jr., beloved husband, father, brother, grandfather, great-grandfather and uncle passed away peacefully at Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center on Christmas Day, surrounded by family and friends.

John was the patriarch of a large family and leaves behind many to cherish his memory, mourn his passing, celebrate his life, and we live up to the example he set for all who knew him. John fought cancer and heart failure with dignity, without complaint, and let neither of them define how he lived.

He was preceded in death by his first wife, Martha Kokoruda and his brother Terry Kokoruda.

His survivors include his wife of 28 years, Phyllis; a sister, Jean Larrabee; sons, John III (Shelia), Andrew and Johnny Morris; daughters, Candice Hale (Bill), Karen Morris (Darla), Patricia Fitterer (Mike) and Pamela Sullivan (Kevin). He also leaves behind 17 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

John proudly served his country with distinction for 21 years in the U.S. Army before retiring as a Command Sgt. Major at Fort Knox, Kentucky in 1967. Shortly afterward, he relocated the family to Virginia, taking up residence in Williamsburg in 1976.

John’s love for his country endures to this day as evidenced by the American flag he has prominently displayed in the front yard of his home for many years. After his Army career, he attended college on the GI Bill before pursuing career interests in the private sector. Locally, he worked for Landell Construction and Beacon Construction as project manager at both firms. His last employment was with Custom Builders Supply where he applied his woodworking talents customizing doors and windows, later using those talents to make many items as gifts for friends and family, many of which are still used today.

John’s life of service to others is perhaps his greatest legacy. He enrolled in the Loyal Order of Moose Williamsburg Lodge #757 in 1981 where he held many offices, and was elected governor of the Lodge four times. He received the highest honor given by Moose International, the Pilgrim Degree of Merit, which is given to a select few candidates whose service to the Order and its philanthropic work is deemed both exemplary and enduring. John was also a founding member of the Berlin U.S. Military Veterans Association, serving as its first vice-president in 1996. An award given to him in 2008 states “BUSMVA would not be what it is today without his extraordinary efforts.”

In the sunset of his life, he traveled extensively in Europe, the Caribbean and the U.S. Also an avid golfer, he played many rounds and made many friends at the Williamsburg National Golf Club, all in the company of his beloved wife, Phyllis.

The family will have a Celebration of Life on from 2 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, December 30 at Nelsen Funeral Home, 3785 Strawberry Plains Rd., Williamsburg, (757-565-1141) with a memorial service to follow.  Interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that expressions of sympathy take the form of donations to the Wounded Warriors Project or the American Cancer Society.

Please leave online condolences for the family at Nelsen Funeral Home.

To view the full list of WYDaily obituaries, click here.