Craig Flagler Palms Funeral Home & Flagler Memorial Gardens

511 Old Kings Road South, Flagler Beach, FL


John Leo Pope

October 3, 1937March 24, 2020

John Leo Pope, 82, died Tuesday morning, March 24, 2020 at Advent Hospital after a sudden heart attack. He is survived by his wife Sue, his two sons, Matthew (Lisha) and Samuel (Tara) Pope, and his five grandchildren, Diana, William, Emerson, Harper, and Leo Pope. He also leaves behind many other family members and friends who thought the world of him. Born in Tennessee, the son of Leo and Ruth Pope and the younger brother of Anita Pope Maddox, John graduated from Aiken High School in South Carolina. He was a graduate of the University of Alabama (Class of 1959). While on campus he was a member of the Crimson Tide football team, the Million Dollar Marching Band, and participated in ROTC.

John went on to serve his Country, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army. He served two tours in Vietnam where he was awarded a Silver Star for valor in combat. Between his two tours he also worked for the FBI domestically. Throughout his military career, John continued his education earning a Master’s degree from Florida State University and a Doctorate from the University of California, Berkley. Upon retiring from the Army, John embarked on his second career as a professor, teaching at both Princeton University & Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, where he also acted as Interim Dean. It was while at Embry-Riddle that John developed a love for community theatre which would play an integral role for the remainder of his life. It was in the theatre that he met his surviving wife Sue, with whom he would spend the next 32 years. John and Sue were avid travelers visiting countries all over the world on six different continents. They were still exploring until his dying day. When home, they walked on the beach with their two dogs Max and Spike.

John Leo Pope was a true renaissance man. He was a student, teacher, soldier, artist, actor, director, writer, federal agent, athlete, and even a model. The roles, for which he will most be remembered, were husband, father, grandfather, uncle, and friend.

Condolences may be sent to www.craigflaglerpalms.com


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


John Leo Pope

have a memory or condolence to add?

Chris Loughran

April 22, 2020

I was a senior ROTC cadet at Princeton ROTC in 1979 when LTC Pope was the senior officer in charge of our ROTC detachment. He was a tremendous mentor, great leader, great instructor and full of life. On field exercises his training came from his experiences in combat. He expressed the importance of learning the lessons in order to save men's lives. He loved life and had many funny stories to tell. One story was from his experience at Army Airborne school. Imagine 200 trainees lined up in platoons outside a barracks before training with a crusty, sunburned, crew cut Command Sergeant Major with reading glasses calling out names alphabetically, last name first. A trainee needed to shout out "HERE" louder than the CSM or he would pay with, of course, pushups. The speed at which the CSM read names indicated he had been an auctioneer at some point. John Pope like all trainees was anticipating his name when the CSM yelled out "Pope John!" Before trainee Pope could answer the CMS looked up and yelled, "Who is the wise guy who is messing with my list!!!" Pope hesitated for a second, raised his hand and said "Sergeant Major, I am John Pope." After several loud expletives the CSM said "well Pope John, why doesn't your holiness get on down and give me 50 pushups!!" God bless John Pope. I am a better man having served under Col. John Pope. I would like to extend my sincere condolences and sympathies to his family. Sincerely, Chris Loughran

Bernard Blais

April 19, 2020

I was a ROTC cadet at Princeton ROTC from 1977 to 1981, during which time LTC Pope was the senior officer in charge of our ROTC detachment. I also had him as an instructor my senior year for a public speaking course that he taught at the University. I wish I had gotten to know him better while we were on campus together those four years. With that said, LTC Pope was a great role model for all the cadets that passed through ROTC during his tenure, I have a lot of fond memories being under his tutelage, and I would like to extend my sincere condolences and sympathies to his family.

john Sbordone

April 6, 2020

John was not only one of the finest actors I know, he was also one of the finest men . We worked together on ten different shows and whether with his beloved Sue or on his own, John comported himself like the true professional he was. Always prepared, he was enormously generous with his cast mates whether they had experience or not. I did see him sigh occasionally when people showed up late....a cardinal sin in the church of Pope. I shall miss him dearly. I hope you will all come to a celebration of his life we will hold for him at City Repertory Theatre as soon as we are able to open our/his space to the public once again.

Ross Royce

April 6, 2020

Sue, I was saddened to learn of John’s death. I admired him so much and enjoyed watching both of you perform.

Annie Gaybis

April 5, 2020

I just learned of John Pope's passing. My sympathies go out to Sue
his children and grandkids and to all of us in the theatrical community that lost a very special person. I am so glad that I got to see John perform. several times.
The last being "Laughter On The 23rd Floor." A consumate actor who made audiences feel. A man that was treasured by all that knew him or knew of him.

Pam Otis

April 4, 2020

Dear Sue,
My sincere condolences on your heart-breaking loss. I always thought it was neat to see John and you together at chorus events. I loved that you were able to share so organically what you both held passion for-theatre, song, and most importantly-each other!
Take care, stay safe,
Pam Otis

Vickie and Jim Tanaka

March 31, 2020

Dear Sue - I was shocked to hear of the news of John's passing. He was so full of life! How I enjoyed getting to meet him and spending time with you two at your place. And, of course, watching the two of you perform in plays. I can still see his big grin the first time I brought back some Guatemalan coffee for you both! I am thinking of you and the rest of his family. I lost my Dad four years ago today. It hurts like crazy. Take care of yourself, my friend. Love, Vickie

Chris Nestor

March 29, 2020

Dear Sue,
I am so sorry to read about John's passing. I always felt that you both were the ideal couple. My heart goes out to you as you deal with the absence of the love of your life and soul mate. Reading the obit. I was amazed at his accomplishments, and I feel so privileged to have been able to work with the team of John & Sue Pope. I hope you will continue to be a part of our local theaters as you work through your healing process. I know Bruce Heighley feels the same way. Chris Noelle Nestor

Marc Bernier

March 29, 2020

I had the great honor of appearing on stage with John in a performance at Daytona Playhouse in 1992. He was a true gentleman on and off the stage.

Supportive and always willing to share, his enthusiasm and encouragement was a tremendous help to me at a time of great change in my life.

John always gave of himself with an ear to listen. To Sue, and his entire family, my deepest condolences at this time.

Jane West

March 29, 2020

Sue, I was so sorry to read of John's death in the News Journal this morning. I remember the good times we shared in and out of the Shoe String Theater. John was a true and thoughtful gentleman. I was fortunate to have known him. I'm grateful you had those 32 years to share together. You were blessed. In sympathy, Jane


Learn more about the Pope name