John Stephen Petchel

September 24, 1941June 1, 2024
Obituary of John Stephen Petchel
John Stephen Petchel, 82, of Virginia Beach, VA, passed away unexpectedly on June 1, 2024. Born and raised in Upper Darby Township, Pennsylvania, John was the son of John and Evelyn Petchel and the eldest of their five children. He graduated from St. James High School for Boys in 1959 and then from Widener College in 1964 with a degree in electrical engineering. During his college years, John was an avid golfer and played on Widener’s Golf Team. After college, John began a career with the Navy Public Works Department as an electrical engineer, initially working at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. It was during this time that he met, fell in love with, and married the love of his life, Mary Liguoria McGarrity. Married in 1970, John and Mary started their family in Philadelphia before moving to Virginia in 1973 for John’s career. They ultimately settled down in Virginia Beach, where they raised their four children while John worked for NAS Oceana Public Works until his retirement in 2001. For more than forty years, John and Mary were active members of St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church, with John often serving as a Lector at church or as a coach for the church’s soccer and basketball teams. Alongside his wife, John was a passionate volunteer for the Virginia Society for Human Life (Tidewater Chapter), tirelessly advocating for the lives of the unborn, and serving as a longtime VSHL Treasurer. After Mary’s death ten years ago, “Pop” continued to support his family, church, and community in so many ways. He attended almost all of his grandchildren’s sports, academic, and music events; lectored at church; prayed with his Respect Life group on Fridays; and regularly delivered meals for Meals on Wheels. Pop was a generous, kind, and very loving parent, grandparent, sibling, uncle, coach, and friend. We will miss him deeply. John Petchel was predeceased by his loving wife of 43 years, Mary Petchel; by his parents, John and Evelyn Petchel; and by two of his siblings, George Petchel and Delores Petchel Fels. He is survived by his siblings Nancy Petchel Sipps and Stephen Petchel; by his sons: John Patrick Petchel (and wife Melanie), Brian Kevin Petchel (and wife Meja), Michael David Petchel (and wife Katie); by his daughter, Megan Petchel Lachman (and husband Eric); and by his ten grandchildren: Robert (and wife Sarah), John, Mark, Sarah, Charlotte, William, Amanda, Flynn, Adrienne, and Kylie. A visitation will be held on Thursday, June 06, 2024 from 6-8 p.m. at Smith and Williams Funeral Home, 4889 Princess Anne Road, Virginia Beach, VA, 23462. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Friday, June 07, 2024 at 10 a.m. at St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church, 5345 Virginia Beach Boulevard, Virginia Beach, VA, 23462. You may offer your condolences at

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  • John and Evelyn Petchel Parents (deceased)
  • Mary Liguoria McGarrity Petchel Loving wife of 43 years (deceased)
  • George Petchel Brother (deceased)
  • Delores Petchel Fels Sister (deceased)
  • Nancy Petchel Sipps Sister
  • Stephen Petchel Brother
  • John Patrick Petchel (Melanie) Son
  • Brian Kevin Petchel (Meja) Son
  • Michael David Petchel (Katie) Son
  • Megan Petchel Lachman (Eric) Daughter
  • Robert, John, Mark, Sarah, Charlotte, William, Amanda, Flynn, Adrienne and Kylie (Sarah (wife of Robert)) Grandchildren

Past Services

Thursday, June 06, 2024


Friday, June 07, 2024

Funeral Mass