John Mark Serré, 70, retired police officer who was instrumental in several water rescues

John Mark Serré

John Mark Serré, 70, passed away Friday, May 1, 2020, at his home in Virginia Beach. John was born June 17, 1949, in Montreal, Canada.

John was preceded in death by his parents, Henry Maurice Serré and Rita Gauthier Serré; stepson, Frank Panzarella; sister-in-law, Anna Louise Weaver; and brother-in-law, John Douglas Weaver. He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Rosa Lee Serré; three children, John Mark Serré II (Elizabeth), Jennifer Serré Axtell (Nathaniel) and Jacqueline Serré Atwood (Mike). He is also survived by six grandchildren, Jean-Marc and Elsie Serré, Clark and Zoë Axtell and Emma and Drew Atwood; sister, Madeleine Burruss (Milton); brother, Pierre Serré; daughter-in-law, Dianne Panzarella; and several nieces, nephews and cousins.

John graduated from Maury High School in 1969. After graduation, he served in the Naval Air Reserve as an aviation ordnanceman. He worked for Virginia Natural Gas as a gas meter shop/meter servicer/operations mechanic, gas construction foreman, supervisor of gas operations and supervisor of dispatch/gas control. He retired after 30 years. He then went to work with the Virginia State Police, where he retired after 18 years with 11 years as a highway safety service patroller and seven years as a compliance officer with the SOIU Unit. He was also a member of the Virginia State Police Association.

John loved woodworking. He had the ability to see what others could not. He could design and build most anything out of wood. He designed his dream workshop and was able to complete many projects. He was always willing to lend a helping hand. He had a passion for turning bowls and wooden pens. If you are lucky enough to own one of his creations, then you have a true treasure. When John was not in his workshop, he was fishing.

John often wore his bright yellow Gorton Fisherman’s hat and yellow rain coat. He could be spotted on a rainy day fishing off the rear deck of his 23-foot Proline, a boat he proudly named “The Rosa Lee” after his wife. John was a member of the Virginia Beach Angler’s Club, where he served on the board of directors for several years. He also served with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

John enjoyed every aspect of fishing. He often spent many hours tying flounder rigs and pouring lead sinkers and buck tail lures. He designed and poured a lead fishing jig. It was a flat colorful jig which he named “The Marserré Lure.” John appeared in many educational fishing stories. He was featured several times in The Fisherman Magazine, where he appeared on the front cover. Although his passion was flounder fishing, he held several Virginia State citations for exceptional catches, including black drum, cobia, flounder, striped bass and spadefish.

He often fished the Chesapeake Channel but was partial to the third island of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. John logged many hours on the Chesapeake. He would spend endless hours drifting homemade flounder rigs across the various structures in the bay. John’s presence on the bay often placed him at the right place at the right time. He was instrumental in several water rescues, including the retrieval of a man overboard and the recovery of his runaway catamaran. There was the sinking Jon boat at the second island, and the overturned kayak at the third island. John was essential in preserving and preventing injury in all of these incidents. His presence on the water was well respected, and he will be sorely missed.

A celebration of John’s life will be held at a later date.

Share online condolences with the family at Woodlawn Funeral Home.

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