John West McVicar – The Suffolk Times


On June 21, 2021, John West McVicar died peacefully at home in Frederick, Md., with family around him. He was 92 years old. 

John was born in Rochester, N.Y., the only child of Agnes and Herbert “Ken” McVicar, who loved him so dearly that they gave him the nickname PJ, for Pride and Joy. John spent his early years in Rochester and Syracuse and went to high school in Buffalo, N.Y. He was close with his Aunt Rosie and raised snakes as a hobby. 

John earned a doctor of veterinary medicine degree from Cornell University in 1952 and worked in Vermont and upstate New York until joining the army in 1954. He was stationed at Fort Eustis in Virginia when he met his soon-to-be life partner, Catherine “Kitty” White, a graduate of the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. The couple had twin gray and white ’56 Pontiac hardtop convertibles. They were clearly meant for each other. They married Jan. 14, 1956. 

John and Kate raised their children in Purcellville, Va., where John worked as a country veterinarian, and Southold, N.Y., where he had a long career as a research veterinarian. They retired to Richmond, Va., then to St. Augustine, Fla., and finally Frederick, Md., to be nearer to family. 

In his later years, John was an active volunteer, working 16 years for Habitat for Humanity, building homes with folks that dearly needed them. John was also a Sunday school teacher, church deacon and later a Seeker, exploring the deeper meanings of life and the role of religion. He enjoyed square dancing, bridge, hiking parts of the Appalachian Trail and sailing, a love he passed on to his sons. 

John was a loving father and grandfather, and the most dedicated husband to Kate, whose death in 2016 left him with a broken heart. He was compassionate, thoughtful and a good listener, and all who knew him and cared for him later in life described him as “a sweetheart.” We will miss his sense of humor, smile and easy laugh, and his strong spiritual compass and empathy for those less fortunate. 

John is survived by two daughters, Cathy Chafin and Amy Chase, and two sons, Bill and Dan, and their spouses, Carlos, Bill, Kathleen and Lee Anne; and nine grandchildren. 

In lieu of flowers, John asked that those wishing to make a donation in his memory please support Habitat for Humanity. A formal burial and service are not planned, but an informal remembrance will be scheduled at a later date at the United Church of Christ in St. Augustine, Fla., for family and friends.

This is a paid notice.

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