John C. Harrell

Published 9:29 pm Tuesday, November 26, 2019

John C. Harrell, 80 died on Nov. 26, 2019, after a long battle with cancer. A native of Suffolk, John was owner of Suffolk Iron Works Inc., his family’s business. He began working there at the age of 14 and was still active at the time of his death. He was the son of the late R.R. Harrell and Virgie Eley Harrell. He is survived by his wife, Mary Lawrence Pond Harrell; daughter, Mary Marshall Graeber and husband, Jeff; son, John Clifton Harrell Jr. and wife, Anne-Randolph; five grandchildren, Charles McClain Graeber, Thomas Clifton Graeber, Martha Kea Harrell, John Clifton Harrell III, Randolph Riddick Harrell, and a close extended family. He was predeceased by his sister, Betty Anne Kyle, and his brother Dr. Robert Riddick Harrell III.

John was a 1957 graduate of Suffolk High School and graduated from Virginia Tech with a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial engineering. He was a past president of the Suffolk Lions Club and the Suffolk Rotary Club. John served as chairman of the board of the Industrial Development Authority and was a member of the corporate board of the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts at its inception. He was a longtime member and past chairman of the Nansemond-Suffolk Academy Board of Directors, served on the Board of Directors of Central Fidelity Bank, and was a member of the Birdsong Trust for more than 40 years, serving as chairman for many of those years. He was a member of West End Baptist Church, a past deacon, church treasurer, and chairman of the Memorial Trust Fund. John was honored as Suffolk’s First Citizen in 2017.

An avid bird hunter, John was one of the 10 founding members of the Nansemond River Duck Club, rarely missing a meeting in more than 46 years. He enjoyed hunting all of his life and relished time spent hunting on the Nansemond River, on his farm, and on horseback out west. Time spent golfing, fishing or hunting was special, but time spent with family and friends gave him his greatest joy.

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A memorial service to celebrate John’s life will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, Dec. 2, 2019, at West End Baptist Church, 501 W. Washington St., followed by a reception at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts. The burial will be private. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to West End Baptist Church Memorial Fund or Nansemond-Suffolk Academy. R.W. Baker & Co. Funeral Home and Crematory is handling arrangements. Condolences may be registered at