John A. Gish, 71

April 27, 2011
  • Gish

OCT. 12, 1939-APRIL 25, 2011

John Albert Gish, 71, of Locust Grove, Va., lost a valiant battle with pancreatic cancer on April 25, 2011, at his home, surrounded by his loving family.

John was born on Oct. 12, 1939, to Albert J. and Catherine C. Gish, now deceased, in Hagerstown, Md. He was also pre-deceased by two brothers, Billy and Jack.

John worked as a tractor-trailer driver for most of his life. He drove for Southland Corp. (now McLane Mid Atlantic) from 1974 to 1992, then for E.F. Thompson until he fully retired in 2004.

His wife, Shirley, joined him in retirement in 2007, and they had four short, wonderful years together before his death. John and Shirley were childhood sweethearts from the ages of 15 and 17, and it was a love that's lasted forever.

John enjoyed a variety of life experiences through the years: teaching his sons to deer hunt, turkey hunting with his favorite setter, Buddy, fishing and boating on Lake Anna and skiing in West Virginia and the Rocky Mountains. In more recent years, he spent his time golfing with his son, Curtis, as well as his golf buddies at Lake of the Woods and at The Greene Hills Country Club, where he was a member.

He especially enjoyed relaxing around the pool with his family, a bottle of cabernet sauvignon and watching his beloved step great-grandaughter, Savanna Kaitlyn Margrave. For the past 35 years, John and his wife, and frequently his whole family, enjoyed lounging around on the beach at the Beacon Motor Lodge at Nags Head.

He is survived by his loving wife of almost 52 years, the former Shirley Poffenberger Gish; two sons, John Curtis and wife, Faye, and Vincente Todd, all of Locust Grove; also two step-grandchildren, Kim Margrave and husband, Michael, and Wayne Mason and wife, Mary; as well as three step great-granddaughters, Savanna and Lydia Margrave, and Evelyn Mason. Survivors also include three sisters, Beverly Kesselring and Jean Rohrer of Waynesboro, Pa., and Gloria Lepson of Baltimore Md.; and a brother, James Gish of Hagerstown; as well as numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews. John was a unique person, with a wonderful personality, who was loved and respected by all whose lives he touched. He is sorely missed.

The family will receive friends at Johnson Funeral Home, Locust Grove on Saturday, April 30, 2011, from 6 to 8 p.m. A private burial will be held at a later date in the gardens at the Gish home. Heaven has received a new, bright angel to look after his loving family.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Orange County Library-Wilderness Branch, or to the Cancer Center at Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville. For an online guestbook and obituary, visit

Rest in Peace, dearly beloved John.

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