John William Cassell

November 4, 1949March 9, 2019

It is with great sorrow that the family of John William Cassell announces his death. He passed away peacefully in his sleep of natural causes at his home in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday, March 9, 2019, at the age of 69.

John was born in Milford, Delaware on November 4th, 1949. As the child of a military family in the U.S. Army, he traveled and lived in many different states in the US and countries abroad, including Japan and Germany. In 1968, he graduated from Bowie High School in Maryland, where he played golf and served as photographer for the school yearbook. He graduated from Washington and Lee University with a degree in Political Science in 1972. He then fulfilled his two years of ROTC duty as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U. S. Army at Fort Sill, Oklahoma and Fort Ord, California.

At the age of 33, John married his college sweetheart, Martha, of Lynchburg, VA. He was her first college blind date, in the fall of 1971, his Senior year. Eleven years later they were married at Christ Episcopal Church in Millwood, VA. The couple lived in Alexandria, VA for twenty years and moved to Charlottesville in August of 1996 with their two children, and expecting their third. John was a self-made entrepreneur who built a custom picture-framing business from the ground up. His first store, Custom Frame and Photo, was located in Georgetown, VA, one block from the Key Bridge. He designed and framed extensively under the direction of Richard McCooey for the Tombs and all of the Clydes Restaurants in the DC area. Eventually, he set up a framing location in Richmond, The Collector, and one in Charlottesville, Great Graphics. John was a generous and knowledgeable man who enjoyed collecting antique prints and vintage posters. He kept himself abreast of politics and as an animated Progressive, he had a passion for social and environmental causes. John also loved to play handball, but was too busy with his work by midlife to keep up that interest.

Somewhat hidden from most who knew him was John’s longstanding desire for a sailboat, in which he could travel and explore the world on a shoestring in the good company of his family, close friends and Kegerator. To that end he actually purchased a 36.7 foot Cutter two years ago, named the “Welcoming Wind,” which is docked in Hampton, VA, still awaiting the virgin voyage of its new owner.

Above all, John will be remembered for his disarming gallows humor and his compassionate generosity.

John is survived by his wife of 37 years, Martha Marshall Cassell; his son, William Marshall Cassell; and daughters, Frances Averett and Elizabeth McKelvey Cassell; his step-mother, Mrs. Marian Cassell of Virginia Beach; step-sister, Beth Cassell of Lancaster, Pennsylvania; niece Catherine Jane Cassell Jones and her husband, Samuel Frederick Jones; and great nephew, Samuel Frederic Jones II. John was preceded in death by his brother Charles L. Cassell, his father, John William Cassell and his mother, Elizabeth Jane Gordy Cassell.

A funeral service will be held on Saturday, March 16, 2019, at 11:30am, at All Saints Anglican Church in Charlottesville. The family will receive friends on Friday, March 15, 2019, from 6-8pm at Teague Funeral Home in Charlottesville.


  • Visitation Friday, March 15, 2019
  • Funeral Service Saturday, March 16, 2019

John William Cassell

have a memory or condolence to add?

Carolyn Kerouac

March 18, 2019

Dear Cassell family,
We are saddened to read this news, John was such a super guy! I was actually just looking at framed artwork from the kids Sunday School classes that he so lovingly put together as a gift! Generous beyond words! May God’s peace that passes all understanding be with you always.
The Kerouac’s

Kathy Swiger

March 16, 2019

I have many fond memories of John that I am now lost for words.
You are in my prayers.
Keep in touch and let me know how you are doing.


Margaret Lambeth Johnson

March 16, 2019

Martha, please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.

Mel Cartwright

March 15, 2019

My friend of 52 years, and Washington and Lee University fraternity brother, he was a man of superb wit and mirth. loyalty and kindness. He was one of my all time favorite people and he and his wife Martha formed a great partnership that produced the best family that I know. I am heartbroken that I will not see him again on this earth. but I will look froward to seeing him on the other side. I have so many great memories of him and I am grateful that I had the privilege of knowing John. I loved you so much.

Elly Graves

March 14, 2019

To the Cassell family,

I am so sorry to hear of John's passing. He was always so pleasant and nice to help when I worked on the downtown mall. It was always a pleasure to see him. My prayers go to the family in this time of need. It was always a pleasure to see each of the Cassell family.

United Bank employee

Todd Giszack

March 12, 2019

I am so sorry to have heard of the untimely passing of John. He was such a great guy- loved his family, put diligence and care into his work, was a man of his word. I have loved getting to know his family through the years of being one of his customers, and he will be very missed. The Cassell's are in my thoughts and prayers. May the God of all comfort walk closely with you in these days ahead.