John Norris O’Bannon, Jr., a lifelong resident of Marshall, Virginia, passed away on January 20, 2023, at home with his family. He was 84.
Johnny was born in Brunswick, Maryland on November 16, 1938. He grew up with a deep love for fishing, racehorses, and sports. His love for sports and his mother’s desire for him to have a great education led him down the road to The Woodberry Forest School in Orange, VA, where he excelled in football, basketball, and baseball. Upon graduation in 1958 from Woodberry, he headed further South and his next stop was the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
At UNC-Chapel Hill, he played freshman football, basketball, and baseball while also being a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity. His freshman basketball team was coached by the legendary, hall of famer, Dean Smith. At the close of his freshman year, the track coach saw Johnny sprint after a fly ball on the baseball field and convinced him track and field was his calling. He excelled in sprints, relays, and long jump. Johnny won the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship for indoor long jump in 1961 and followed that up with the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship for outdoor long jump in 1962. He graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1962 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English.
Johnny returned home to Marshall in 1962 to work alongside his parents, Norris and Lou, in the family business, the Marshall Hardware Store. He operated the Marshall Hardware Store for more than 30 years until it was sold in the mid 1990’s. After the sale of the family business, he held various other sales and management roles until his retirement.
His time spent outside of the family business included his love for horse racing, fishing, the Washington Redskins, and tennis. Johnny and his father Norris operated JNO Stables where they raced horses at local racetracks including Charles Town, Laurel, and Pimlico. He would never miss a Sunday or Monday night Redskins game at RFK or FedEx field. Johnny’s competitive edge never waned, and he turned to tennis at the Chestnut Forks Tennis Club where he met many lifelong friends. He coached many youth sports teams and served in many organizations in Fauquier County including but not limited to the Great Meadows Foundation, the Marshall Ruritan Club, and the Marshall Volunteer Rescue Squad.
Johnny is survived by his wife Sharon Rich O’Bannon; three children, LuAnne Tyler of Annapolis, MD, Tracye Wheless(Al) of Louisburg, NC, John Norris O’Bannon, III(Brittany) of Haymarket, VA; and six grandchildren, Hamilton Tyler, Hunter Tyler, Reed Wheless, John Norris O’Bannon, IV, Keegan O’Bannon, and Virginia O’Bannon. He was preceded in death by John Norris O’Bannon, Sr.(father), Lou Berry O’Bannon(mother).