John Joseph Esher, 71, SunTrust Bank VP, Vietnam vet, active athlete

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John Joseph Esher
John Joseph Esher

John Joseph Esher, 71, of Williamsburg, passed into the arms of his Lord on Tuesday, May 17, 2016.

Born in Darby, Pa., March 6, 1945, John was one of four children of Sam and Kathleen Esher, both of whom preceded him in death, as did his older brothers, Matthew and Michael. His sister, Maryellen Doyle, lives next door to the family home in Folsom, Pa.

John was a star athlete at St. James Catholic High School for Boys, lettering in football, basketball and baseball. He was granted a full football scholarship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As he finished the last course of his bachelor’s in education in 1968, he met his future bride, Cynthia Strope, and they married in 1969.

John served in the U.S. Air Force, including a tour in Saigon, Vietnam, where he taught English as a Foreign Language to Vietnamese officers. He taught history at Chester High School in Pennsylvania. He earned a master’s degree in education from Antioch University.

The family, now including daughter Loren, moved to Northern Virginia, where John owned a Baskin-Robbins Franchise for 13 years. Always the teacher, John demonstrated to his employees, mostly teenagers, the values of honesty and integrity. He then worked for Crestar, now SunTrust Bank, rising from teller to vice president; again, teaching as he handled a number of conversions following bank acquisitions. John and Cyn then transferred from Vienna to Williamsburg in 1997. John managed the Kingsmill branch for SunTrust until 2000. He then returned to teaching at Woodside High School in Newport News until retiring in 2010.

John was an avid golfer and spent many hours on the fairways and greens of Two Rivers Country Club. He served his community through Colonial Capitol Kiwanis Club. He also was a passionate gardener, proud of his lawn, roses and the gazebo — site of many “Friday Night Gazebo Night” gatherings of friends and neighbors.

John is survived by his adoring wife of 47 years, Cynthia; beautiful daughter, Loren, with her husband, Tom Lane; and his four active grandchildren, Caitlyn Anne, Megan Elizabeth, Shannon Terese and Thomas Esher.

He was never far from his furry friends, the two dogs, Augie and Annie; and 11 cats, Fergy, Lambchop, Jenkins, Patches, Bits, Pieces, Sam, Duke, Michelob, Budweiser and Yetta, who are waiting for him at Rainbow Bridge. Back at home, wondering where Dad is, are dogs, Niko and Peanut; and cat, Stickers.

A celebration of life will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday, May 22, at Nelsen Funeral Home, Williamsburg. A funeral Mass will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday, May 23, at Saint Bede Catholic Church. Interment will follow in Saint Bede Columbarium. A reception will be held at Two Rivers Country Club.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the American Cancer Society, or the Williamsburg Relay for Life, Governor’s Land Rovers.

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