John A. Meehan, 84, ‘walking thesaurus’ who wasn’t shy about sharing knowledge is your source for free local news and information in Virginia Beach

John A. Meehan
John A. Meehan

Retired U.S. Army Maj. John A. Meehan, 84, passed away Saturday, April 15, 2017, after a long, hard-fought battle with Parkinson’s.

John was born to Irish immigrants, Julia and Michael Meehan Nov., 9, 1932, in Brooklyn, N.Y. He grew up in Brooklyn under the nickname ‘Red Meehan,’ along with his three brothers, David, James and Thomas. He graduated from Saint Francis Preparatory School in 1951.

He met and courted Virginia M. ‘Virge’ Smith, and they were married Jan. 14, 1956. As most good Irish Catholic men living in New York, he was due to follow in his brothers’ footsteps and join the ranks of the New York City Police Department, instead ever the red-headed rebel, and after a stint at NYU, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Jan. 26, 1954.

His military service included one tour in Korea and two in Vietnam, where he received the Bronze Star Medal and Meritorious Service Award. He rose to the rank of major. In between tours of duty, he and Virginia managed to start and raise a family of four children, Barbara, Michael, Julie and Alice, born in four different places, including two overseas locations. They moved their family 15 times. In 1974, and after 20 years of service, he retired from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Fort Belvoir, Va., and settled in Northern Virginia, where he was an active member of the Dale City chapter of the VFW and became a lifelong Washington Redskins fan despite his New York background.

After he retired from the private sector, they moved to the Hampton Roads area in 1997. In his ‘second’ retirement, he enjoyed working for Broad Bay Golf Course and Elizabeth Manor and working on his golf game.

He was an excellent cook and was the designated family chef on holidays, perfecting his pancakes, ‘sauce’ and Thanksgiving stuffing that remain family favorites. He was an avid reader all his life and a walking thesaurus and not shy about sharing his knowledge of all things.

He had intense pride and love for his wife of 60-years, four children, Irish heritage, country and service to it. But the role he truly cherished was that of Pop-Pop to his five granddaughters, Kelly, Katie, Miranda, Mackenzie and Shannon.

He is survived by his wife, Virginia Meehan; daughter, Barbara Meehan of Maryland; son, Michael Meehan, and his wife, Belynda; granddaughters, Kelly, Katie and Miranda; daughter, Julie Meehan Gibbs, and her husband, Homer Gibbs; and daughter, Alice Meehan, and her husband, David Para; and granddaughters, Mackenzie and Shannon.

The family will receive friends from 6-8 p.m. Monday, April 24, at H.D. Oliver Funeral Home, 2002 Laskin Road, Virginia Beach.

Memorial donations may be made in memory of retired U.S. Army Major John A. Meehan to the Veterans of Foreign Wars; Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research; or Julie Meehan Gibbs, 8004 Lake Drive, Manassas, VA 20111.

Online condolences may be made to the family at