Obituaries » John William Shirley, Jr.

John William Shirley, Jr.

July 28, 1966 - March 15, 2022

John William Shirley, Jr. of Roanoke, VA, ended his hunting season at his home on March 15, 2022, after a brave battle with glioblastoma. He was born on July 28, 1966, in Bethesda, MD to John William Shirley, Sr., and Miriam Ross Thompson. Graduating from Virginia Tech in accounting before pursuing post-graduate work in building construction, he was a true Renaissance man: raising bees, growing a garden, loving his pets, skiing with reckless abandon, adopting green building methods, and cooking a mean fudge. Not bad for a frat boy, and his devotion to the VT TKE house has kept it standing to this day. As a contractor, John could renovate anything except, perhaps, his own house, and was a CPA who served nonprofits such as Brain Injury Services and Children’s Trust along with his tax clients. It was the outdoors that fueled his soul, whether perched on his deer stand or wading into most any trout stream. In fact, many a fish are breathing a sigh of relief today. But his friends mourn the loss of a steadfast rock who would give the tie-dye shirt off his back to help them.

He is preceded in death by four grandparents with a wide range of typical American roots including Native American, several lines of Scottish immigrants as well as English, French and German immigrants who settled in Virginia and South Carolina. And by his beloved Labrador Retriever’s LT (Chief Little Terror Shirley) and Tank (Cantankerous Maximus Shirley) whose ashes will lie with John’s.

He is survived by his one true love, Kerry Kinnison, who bravely fought by his side and gave him great comfort and her daughter Mary; his father, John William Shirley, Sr. (JoAnn), mother, Miriam Ross Thompson, brother, Bruce Shirley (Claire), sister, Rose Black (Scott), step-sister Tonya Locke (Russ), step-brother Shannon Byrum, nephews, Seth, Jackson, and Liam nieces, Ella Rose and Lena, and cat Skiddie Kitty.

A graveside service will be held on March 26, 2022, at 3:00 pm, with visitation beginning at 2:00 pm in the mausoleum at Forest Rest Natural Cemetery, 5970 Grassy Hill Rd., Boones Mill, VA 24065. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Children’s Trust at roact.org, Brain Injury Services of Southwest Virginia at bisswva.org, and/or Tau Kappa Epsilon International Fraternity at tke.org, and in lieu of sadness, we remember to “Bend with the Wind.”

Tharp Funeral Home & Crematory in Roanoke is assisting the family.

Condolences & Tributes

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What I wouldn't do for one more piece of John Shirley's fudge. It used to live in our freezer and it was always a delight to take a piece out for a treat. I almost don't remember growing up without John in my life. I met him as a young teenager when he and my mom became dear friends. John supported our family through numerous difficult times and never asked for anything in return. He could be gruff and grumpy, but his heart was always kind and his smile and laugh will never be forgotten. Rest easy, John.

Posted by Sara Sculthorpe on March 22, 2022

Becky and I met John in a parking lot in Salem when we were looking for someone to do some remodeling on our home. When John came by to see our need I determined he was the right person from his caring response and the fact he was a trout fisherman. It was the best decision we made because John worked with the most care and precision on all the remodeling and additions inside and out. We came to consider John part of our family, especially when he shared his delicious fudge with us. Fishing with John was a real adventure. Thank you John for adding your joy and talent to our lives.

Posted by Eddie and Becky Leonard on March 19, 2022

John was a wonderful human being and will be dearly missed. I first me John when I was a young TKE pledge at Va Tech. Initially, I was intimidated by the gruff exterior, but soon got to know the kind soul underneath. His humor was infectious and I remember clearly how he would often, with a sly look on his face, break out in laughter with without a single sound coming out of his mouth. God rest your soul John, we are all better people for having known you!

Posted by Joe Barcia on March 18, 2022

John was a wonderful human being and will be dearly missed. I first me John when I was a young TKE pledge at Va Tech. Initially, I was intimidated by the gruff exterior, but soon got to know the kind soul underneath. His humor was infectious and I remember clearly how he would often, with a sly look on his face, break out in laughter with without a single sound coming out of his mouth. God rest your soul John, we are all better people for having known you!

Posted by Joe Barcia on March 18, 2022

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