Service Held for Former President | Thomas Nelson Community College

Service Held for Former President

September 5, 2021
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Dr. John T. Dever is pictured during his inauguration ceremony at the College's auditorium on the Hampton campus.

Being a former English professor, it seems fitting that before his death, John Dever selected the readings for the mass held in his honor. They included Micah 6: 6-8, which talks about how one should “walk humbly with your God,” and Romans 5:1-5, the main themes of which are peace and hope.

On Sept. 4, he was remembered as humble and a man at peace with his faith as close to 50 people gathered at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Hampton. Dever died April 15, 2020, at the age of 74. A small graveside service was held shortly after his death, but Saturday was the first chance family, friends and former co-workers were able to gather to remember him. The service, which lasted an hour, also was available online.

Mike Moran, a longtime friend of Dever’s, said in talking to those gathered, that Dever had a “happy death” because he was committed to his faith and surrounded by family at the time of his passing. He was prepared for the afterlife.

Dever, who was born in Lebanon, Ky., earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Bellarmine College in Louisville; a master’s in English from the University of Kentucky; and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Virginia. He joined Thomas Nelson in 1975 as a professor in the English department. He eventually became chair of the Communications and Humanities Division at the College. He joined Blue Ridge Community College in 1995 as the Dean of Instruction and Student Services, before becoming the Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs at Tidewater Community College in 2000. He then joined Northern Virginia Community College four years later as the Executive VP for Academic and Student Services, where he stayed for seven years. He was the president at Thomas Nelson from October 2011-January 2020. In total, he spent 45 years at Virginia community colleges.

His wife, Peggy, predeceased him in 2016. They were married for 39 years, and he established the “John and Peggy Dever Changing Lives Fund” at TNCC. For more information on that, or to make a donation, go to https://tncc.edu/foundation/changinglivesfund.

He had one son and one daughter, and seven grandchildren.