John Parks Tazewell (born 1920)

Passed May 31 2016

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John P. Tazewell : September 25, 1920 - May 31, 2016

Resided in Virginia Beach, VA

John Parks Tazewell, 95, passed away on May 31, 2016, at Westminster-Canterbury in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He was born on September 25, 1920, in Wilmington, Delaware, to Calvert Walke Tazewell and Sophie Goode Tazewell.

John grew up in Norfolk, Virginia, and graduated from Maury High School in 1939. After high school, he attended the U.S. Naval Academy and graduated in 1942. During World War II, he served on the destroyer USS O'Bannon (DD-450) , and battleships U.S.S. Alabama and U.S.S. West Virginia, and was awarded a Bronze Star (V). After the war, he attended the Navy Post Graduate School and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he received a Masters of Science in Electrical Engineering. He also served as Commodore of a destroyer division, which included NATO-manned U.S.S. Claude V. Ricketts, Commander of the destroyer U.S.S. Laffey, Commander of the Norfolk Test and Evaluation Detachment, project officer for the Tartar missile program, and program manager of the Aegis missile area defense system. He retired in 1970, at the rank of Captain.

After retirement, John volunteered with a number of organizations in Norfolk, Virginia, including the Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia (formerly SEVAMP), Chrysler Museum Library and Lee's Friends. He enjoyed sailing, rowing, traveling and visiting his children and grand children with his wife and best friend, Elizabeth "Betsy" Taylor.

A memorial service will be held 2:00 p.m., Saturday, August 27, 2016 at Westminster Canterbury, Virginia Beach. A reception will follow the service. A private ceremony to scatter John's ashes will follow in Norfolk.


  • From "Gordon Lilly " : John was a cousin of my wife, Jean, but I had only met him twice before we moved to Westminster Canterbury six years ago. I then decided to take the liberty of searching for him on the web. I found the most fascinating entry. It was an account to the party that was thrown for him by his crew on the occasion of his retirement. It was clear that he had been a remarkable officer earning the utmost affectionate respect from his ship's company. This prepared me for getting to know John and his family. I got to know him for his intelligence and keen wit. I got to see him as the most loyal husband of Betsy whom he cared for so diligently in her declining years. I had the pleasure of getting to know his delightful family. It was a great privilege for me to become his friend.
  • Luong and Lang Vu - 3 years ago : We missed John and Betsy very much, they helped us many things, when we came Norfolk 1975, we never forget it, we will be in for their memorial service on August 27. We shared the bad news with John, Richard, Judith, Littleton. Will see you all. Luong Vu and all our family.
  • Jane and Dwight Schaubach / Jane Schaubach - 3 years ago : To the family of John, sorry for your loss. John had a life well lived. He and Betsy were our neighbors on Oak Grove Rd. Not too many of our neighbors of that era left. It was a great time to live in Talbot Park.