Beloved husband and loving father passed away peacefully on May 13th surrounded by his family in the house in Alexandria VA that he had called home for the past 57 years. John - or Bubby as he was known to family and close friends – was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, the son of Dr. John and Grace (Peters) Gleeson. An alumnus of Creighton Preparatory High School, he continued his educational pursuits at Creighton University from which he earned his baccalaureate degree and, subsequently, his Doctor of Medicine degree.
While pursuing his studies, John had the good fortune to meet a young nurse, Mary, who would become his wife and lifelong partner. They began their life together settling in the small rural community of Vail, Iowa, where John set up his practice with Mary as his nurse caring for the townspeople and the farmers and their families from the surrounding area. For many years after they had left that small Iowa town, he and Mary were remembered and were sorely missed by their many patients who had also become their friends. A call to duty during the Korean War landed the family in Fargo, North Dakota, where John served in the Navy as an active duty officer. Following this brief sojourn, he decided to pursue additional training, eventually moving his family to the DC area where he completed a residency in the field of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Georgetown University Hospital. He built a successful solo medical practice from which he retired in 1994 after 35 years devoting most of his life to helping literally thousands of mothers bring new lives into this world. One memorable episode in his long and distinguished medical career was participating in the care of the new President’s wife, Jackie, who acknowledged his service with a handwritten note and flowers sent home to Mary on the occasion of their wedding anniversary which, co-incidentally, was the birth date of John Jr.
Despite the demands of a busy medical practice and a large family, Bubby did find time to pursue his many other interests including tennis, fishing and tending to his garden. An avid sports fan, he supported his Washington Redskins over many years through their triumphs and their losses. Thank the Lord that he lived to witness his beloved Nationals bring the pennant home to DC.
John is survived by his wife of 71 years, Mary Catherine Gleeson, and his 5 daughters and 2 sons, Kathleen Gleeson Butler of Washington DC, Annette Ellen Gleeson of Alexandria VA, Mary Janet Thomas and spouse (Robert) of Arlington VA, Patricia Maureen Rowan and spouse (Greg) of Manalapan NJ, Timothy Thomas Gleeson and spouse (Pam) of Fairfax Station VA, Edward Michael Gleeson of Alexandria VA, Theresa Gleeson Bielecki and spouse (Edward) of Gainesville VA and 11 grandchildren. He is also survived by his remaining sibling Catherine Ann Lahey of Wichita KA. He is predeceased by his brother Edward Michael Gleeson of O’Neill NE and Mary Elizabeth Jonaitis of Omaha NE.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the mass of Christian burial at St. Rita’s Catholic Church and interment at Ivy Hill Cemetery will be private, a celebration of his life to held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please consider donation to the Parkinson’s Foundation or to the charity So Others Might Eat.
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