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James Douglas “JD” Hart

Celebration of Life Service: 2:00 p.m., Saturday, October 14, 2023

Location: James River Baptist Church

James Douglas “JD” Hart, 86, of Williamsburg, Virginia, went to be with our Lord and Savior on August 21, 2023 after a brave and difficult battle with Myelodysplastic Syndrome and Leukemia.  JD spent 11 months fighting his diagnosis with a daily thankfulness to the Lord for all his blessings. He was grateful for a life well lived.  


JD was born in Greene County, North Carolina, to Virgil and Lillie Mae Hart. He was the oldest of four children.  He spoke often of his childhood in North Carolina, especially the time spent with his beloved grandparents, Hayward and Lizzie Reeves.


In 1955, JD joined the United States Air Force, serving in El Paso, Texas, Fairbanks, Alaska, and many locations in between.  After his honorable discharge from military service, he came to Newport News, Virginia and began a 34 year career at Newport News Shipbuilding.  JD met his loving wife of nearly 64 years, Virginia, on Easter weekend, 1959.  They were married in December of the same year.  


JD and Virginia began their life together in Hampton, and had two daughters, Lisa and Mary, before moving to Newport News where they spent many years together as a family. In 1997, JD and Virginia retired to Williamsburg.  JD made many friends throughout the area over the years, and never met a stranger.  


JD enjoyed being busy.  He was known for preparing his delicious North Carolina style bbq on his big red cooker for family and friends. He catered events for churches, birthdays, graduations, or any occasion for which he was asked.  A favorite family memory is how they “turned the tables” to surprise him with a bbq cookout on his 80th birthday.  They pretended to hire him for a party.  Little did he know, when he arrived with the delicious bbq, it was for his own party!


In his retirement years, he had a side job, cutting grass for family and friends. It gave him great pleasure to help those in need. He could always be counted on for handyman services, too.  Until his illness, he started nearly every day with a 5k walk, something he did for over 60 years. He always had time for hanging out with his sweetheart, Nan, daughters, grandkids, and since 2018, his great-granddaughters.  Many excellent family adventures were had, and together the family made memories to last a lifetime.  


JD was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Alton “Bruce” Hart, and sister, Mary Elizabeth “Joy” Corbett.  He is survived by his wife, Virginia; brother, Nelson Hart (Peggy); beloved daughters, Lisa Steele and Mary Hart; grandchildren, Kelly Brubaker (Scott), Alexis Steele, and John Sawin; great-granddaughters, Haley “James” Brubaker (his namesake) and Jordan Brubaker, as well as many extended and loving family members.  JD was proud to have had a uniquely close relationship with many of his nieces and nephews, particularly Misty Hart, who found in him a father figure after the death of his brother, Bruce.  He also loved and was loved in return by his granddaughter, Lexi’s many friends at The Arc of Greater Williamsburg, an organization very close to his heart.


The family would like to extend sincere appreciation to the medical professionals at Virginia Oncology Associates and Sentara Williamsburg Regional Hospital for their outstanding and extremely compassionate care of JD.  He knew he was in good hands with their care, and he thought the world of all of them.


A Celebration of Life Service will be held by the family at 2:00 p.m. on October 14, 2023 at James River Baptist Church, 4931 Centerville Rd., Williamsburg, VA 23188. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to The Arc of Greater Williamsburg, where plans are being made to establish a From the “Hart” Scholarship that will honor JD for his involvement in The Arc and provide tuition assistance for those served in the Arc’s day program.   Donations may be sent to 150-D Strawberry Plains Rd., Williamsburg, VA, 23188, or online at www.thearcgw.org.

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#8 Erby Harris 2023-09-29 21:12
I met JD in 1997, it was like talking to somebody that I had known for years, we had many common interests. Over the years we did so much together, eating lunch at hole in the wall restaurants all over the peninsula, working on vehicles, houses, yard work, just about anything. We did numerous years supporting the neighborhood cleanups, him doing the cooking, me riding he was my friend around in my truck pretending to be coordinating the efforts. They were such good times. I suppose JD was one of those parts of my life that I mistakenly felt would always be there. I could not have asked for a better neighbor, he was my friend.
#7 Beverly Peterson 2023-08-29 15:51
In his family, I see his legacy alive and still giving.
#6 Kevin-Renee DeVerell 2023-08-28 04:40
JD was a good man. He always had kind words for everyone. My prayers are with the family in the death of their patriarch.
#5 Paula Lee 2023-08-28 02:02
My sincerest condolences to all of you. Mr.JD was a remarkable man he and I were friends a year or so before we actually met in person. He loved talking about his family and the love he had for them. His face would light up and his eyes would sparkle at the mention of any of you. He enjoyed picking at me about all my critters as he called them especially my chickens. He even sent me a picture of an egg apron and told me he was going to get me one I thanked him and told him I only had 12 ladies and my basket worked just fine. He was forever sending me cute little things he saw for chickens. He loved doing for others that was evident in just hearing him talk. He will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved him. Well done my good and faithful servant come into your eternal rest.
#4 Debra Watkins-Morton 2023-08-26 14:52
My sincerest condolences to you all. JD was a member of our Facebook group WALTE and he was loved and respected by us all. He was a kind soul a “gentle”man. He will surely be missed.
A few years ago I asked if he and Nelson would come to my Back Swamp Community in Richlands NC to cook us some delicious HART bar-b-Q, without hesitation he answered yes. That was an amazing day I will never forget. When I think of barbecue—I think of the Hart Brothers. I loved their closeness. That’s getting rarer these days. I believe they were the bestest of friends.
“Go rest high on that mountain, son your work on earth is done.”
#3 Carol Lewis 2023-08-26 12:27
What a beautiful tribute to a wonderful man! Condolences and love to all.
#2 Tracy Tomes 2023-08-25 21:12
I hate the pleasure to meet JD was true gentleman
He always had a smile ..
#1 Mary Hart 2023-08-25 20:43
You were my hero, my rock, my heart. Thank you for loving me unconditionally everyday of my life. Thank you for being my Dad. I love you beyond measure and will treasure every moment, every memory, every lesson, every hug, every kiss, and every I love you. There are no words to describe how much I will miss you. You were the best Dad, and I was truly blessed. I love you forever and ever. Mary

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