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John Lesner

Elmwood Cemetery
3rd Alley East, Lot 14
(1839 – 1918)

John Lesner was born at Franfort-on-the-Main, on May 23, 1839. In 1859 he came to America, first settling in New York City. He enlisted in the Union army in 1861, and coming to Norfolk the following year, became engaged in the tailoring business. He and his wife had two daughters and six sons.  Mr. Lesner was elected Sheriff of Norfolk County in 1870, serving four terms of four years each. As a member of the Board of Supervisors of Norfolk County for ten years, he was representative of the Tanners Creek district. For a number of years he served on the Harbor Commission, and was a member of the Ferry Committee for a decade, being chairman of the committee under whose direction the first iron (ferry) boat, the "City of Portsmouth" was built. 

Upon his death in his 80th year in 1918, his obituary stated that, “He was a man of genial warm-hearted nature, and had a great many friends in Norfolk, Portsmouth, and vicinity, who will learn of his death with exceeding regret. His demise marks the passing of one of the "landmarks" so to speak of Tidewater Virginia, with the interests of which he was intimately related through a long number of years.  He was many years ago, proprietor of "Lesner's Park" in [Norfolk]…a very popular recreation center.”* 

One of Mr. Lesner’s sons, John A. Lesner, became a US Senator from Virginia serving in the upper house of the General Assembly from 1908 to 1938.  The Lesner Bridge in Virginia Beach, Virginia was named for him in recognition of his service on the State Highway Commission when the original bridge was opened in 1928.  The original bridge was replaced in 1958.

Other Lesner family members interred on this Lot include:  Infant, d. 1874; Rosa L., d. 1887; Infant, d. 1891; Ruth A., d. 1881; R.C., d. 1889; Theresa, d. 1890; Margaret E., d. 1933



Biographical information provided by Norfolk Bureau of Cemeteries.

Visitor Information

Visitor Hours: Sunrise to Sunset

Office hours: Monday to Friday 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM

Free parking inside cemetery.

Admission Cost: Free

Address: 238 E. Princess Anne Road , Norfolk, VA 23510

Official web site for more information: www.norfolk.gov/cemeteries

Norfolk Society for Cemetery Conservation Web Site: www.norfolksocietyforcemeteryconservation.org