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John Daniel DeHart Jr., 83, of Rhoadesville died Friday, July 25, 2008, at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center Nursing Home Unit in Richmond.
He was born in Spray, N.C., Nov. 10, 1924. John was the only child of the late John Daniel DeHart Sr. and Lula Miranda Turner DeHart. He was preceded in death by his beloved daughter, Ava Marie DeHart, and his third wife, Gladys Pickeral DeHart.
Survivors include his daughter, Debbie Sue DeHart and her husband, Jimmy Wallace, of Rhoadesville; his son, Mick DeHart and his wife, Catherine Edgerly DeHart, of Spring Lake, N.C.; three grandchildren, Kent, Nicholas and Jenna, all of Spring Lake; and two former wives, Louise Thomas Hooker and Virginia Stacy DeHart.
John graduated from Leaksville High School in 1940. He enlisted in the Army and was assigned to the "Red Bull" unit, Company E, 133rd Infantry, 34th Division. In 1942, he was deployed first to Tunisia, North Africa, and then in 1943 to Italy, where he was captured by the enemy and broke his leg. This prevented him from being marched to Germany to a concentration camp. He was kept at a field hospital in the Po Valley from September 1944 until May 1945, when British troops liberated the prisoners.
After the war, John raced stock cars in Virginia and North Carolina as Jr. DeHart. He was notably proud of his acquaintances, Lee Petty, Junior Johnson and Fireball Roberts. Most of John's career was spent in the construction trades. He operated bulldozers and backhoes, and built several mobile home parks in Stafford County. He did all this before returning to his native state of North Carolina and continuing this work until he was 76 years old. Like his father before him, he did not stop working until serious illness took over.
John passed his love of history and storytelling on to his daughters, and was thrilled when the Daughters of the American Revolution visited him at the medical center.
A funeral will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 2, at Covenant Funeral Service, Fredericksburg. Interment will be at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 13, in Arlington National Cemetery.
The family will receive friends from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 1, at the funeral home.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Mine Run Daughters of the American Revolution Veterans Fund, Attn: Treasurer, 9501 Danielville Drive, Spotsylvania, Va. 22551.
Online guest book is available at covenantfuneral