John F. Royall, Jr.
JOHN F. ROYALL, JR. This world said goodbye to one of the finest last week. John F. Royall, Jr., known as Jack, made his final decision to be with the Lord on Saturday, August 19, 2023.
Years ago, he made the decision to write half of his own obituary. He knew we would allow him that honor and add what we thought the world should know. Jack was born in Grafton, VA on February 28, 1933. The house he was born in and spent his childhood in was on Rt. 17, next to Ma Tate’s boarding house and restaurant. He was a member of Grafton Christian Church and graduated from Poquoson High School in 1951. He ventured out of his comfort zone by attending and graduating from Randolph Macon College in 1955 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics. He began his professional career in 1955 at N.A.C.A Langley Research Center, which became N.A.S.A in 1958. He worked within the space program and was the project engineer for the investigation of the Little Joe Booster for Project Mercury. He went into technical management after 10 years in space research and retired in 1990 as head of the Research Grants program. Jack enjoyed sports and played high school baseball and basketball, American Legion baseball and fast pitch softball. He coached youth sports in York County for many years. He also bowled and played golf, which filled his retirement years with many trips up and down the east coast, including a few stops in Atlantic City. His love of the Washington REDSKINS and the Washington Nationals was unwavering. Jack was preceded in death by his parents, John F. Royall, Sr., and Mary Belle Royall and his former wife, Laura L. Sherman. Survivors include a son, John F. Royall, III (Vickie), two daughters, Laurie R. Smithdeal (Jeff) and Michelle Royall, along with his best friend and sister, Virginia Martin. He was also very proud of his ability to remember names and birthdays of 9 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and 3 great-great grandchildren! Jack will be fondly remembered by a large extended family of nieces, nephews, cousins and generations of York County Little League athletes. Our dad will be remembered at an informal gathering of family and friends on Wednesday, August 30, 2023, from 6-8:00 pm at Amory’s Funeral Home in Grafton, VA.