John Herod, 67, was taken from us suddenly and too soon Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019. He was born Feb. 18, 1951, in Dukinfield, England. Shortly thereafter, his family moved to New Zealand, where he was raised and called home.
John was a self-made and self-educated successful businessman. His thirst for reading was insatiable, as was his quest for travel and adventure. As a young man, he traveled the world on cruise ships, taking photos of passengers and gaining an unparalleled life experience that shaped his personality. It was his photography roots that led him to Germany to study and later work at Agfa-Gevaerts Fotoschule.
While in Germany, fate brought him to meet the love of his life, Nancy, a Virginia Beach native. From opposite sides of the sea, their union is a tale of two cities, literally and figuratively. Their love is a true example of opposites attracting and staying together forever. John and Nancy were married for 42 years, living almost all of that time in Virginia Beach.
John was a respected member of the Virginia Beach business community. He started a little retail store called The Sheepskin at Military Circle, selling seat covers, rugs and other goods imported from New Zealand. From that beginning, he became one of the largest sheepskin importers in the United States, branching out to manufacture as well as import the goods himself. At first, he bought raw skins from Australia and had them tanned in factories he found throughout Yugoslavia. When civil war broke out and shooting started, he became one of the pioneer American businessmen to open an office and manufacture in China. After many years in the sheepskin business, John longed for a new venture. He founded Advantageous MD, a medical device company, from which he finally retired.
John’s stories from places around the world and his British and New Zealand anecdotes made everyone laugh. His “Johnisms” are too many to list, but we all have our favorites. John was the “mayor” of all of the restaurants he and Nancy frequented. If you wanted the royal treatment, you went to dinner with John and Nancy. He was a generous man. He would always rather share delights than experience the good things alone. He made friends with everyone and would always go to any lengths to help someone in need…one of the most giving men the world has seen.
John had various interests. He loved to cook. His New Year’s dinners of prime rib and Yorkshire Pud are often imitated but never duplicated. He loved his gas grill and often bragged about it having a heat signature that could be seen from space. He loved collecting good wines, whiskies, bourbons and fine ports. In the last few years, an injured knee kept him from golfing, yet he still played at least once a year to support children’s charities.
It was obvious to all that John received the most joy from taking care of Nancy and making sure she had all the best life could offer. Although he complained, he loved taking Nancy to New York and watching her face light up visiting their favorite places.
John’s loss will leave a hole in our hearts, but we are all the better for having known him and getting to share him with Nancy.
John is survived by his loving wife, Nancy; brother and sister-in-law, Michael and Marie Herod; two nephews, Stephen and Peter Herod, and their families, all living in Australia; and his cousins, Jean and Jeffrey Edwards in England. He is also survived by his loyal dog, Jill, and two cats, Molly and George.
A celebration of John’s life will be held at 5 p.m., Monday, Feb. 18, at Chops Restaurant, Virginia Beach.
In lieu of flowers, the family welcomes donations to the charity of your choice.
Share online condolences with the family at H.D. Oliver Funeral Apts.