John Kent Arbogast, 70, of Roanoke, VA, passed away on Monday, November 7, 2022.
He was born in Covington, VA, on November 18, 1951, to the late John Arthur and Dorothy Villa Arbogast. He grew up in White Sulphur Springs, WV, and graduated from White Sulphur Springs High School in 1970. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Horticulture in December of 1973 from Virginia Tech and his Master of Planning degree from the University of Virginia in 1978.
He proudly served as an Extension Agent in Agriculture for 28½ years for the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service, answering gardening questions from local residents. He began his career with Extension in Manassas, VA, and then in Charlottesville, VA, while obtaining his master’s degree. He then served the Giles County, VA, area from the Extension office in Pearisburg, VA, before transferring to the Roanoke Extension office, where he served the Roanoke area for 23 years.
During his years with the Roanoke Extension office, he became a local gardening celebrity due to his extensive media presence. He wrote a weekly “Ask John” column in the Roanoke Times, answering gardening questions submitted by readers. He was a frequent guest on the WFIR-AM live radio show, “Ask Your Neighbor,” answering gardening questions from callers. He had a weekly gardening segment, “Growin’ It”, that was shown on WDBJ’s 6 o’clock news. The show was often recorded at his home and frequently featured his two sons. He appeared on WDBJ’s locally produced show, Panorama, that aired in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1987, he launched a Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Program in Roanoke which later formed the Roanoke Master Gardener Association that is still active today. He was also a popular speaker at Garden Clubs and Civic Groups and worked with many 4-H groups.
Following his retirement in 2002, he started his own consulting business, John Arbogast, Landscape Problem Solver, and assisted homeowners for many years. He also served as an adjunct professor at Virginia Western Community College, teaching turf management for several years. He worked as a parking garage attendant for Park Roanoke for many years and enjoyed greeting downtown workers and visitors throughout the day.
John was an active member of the Roanoke Jaycees for many years and served on the Virginia Western Community Arboretum Board for 11 years. He attended Our Lady of Nazareth Catholic Church, prior to becoming a member of Second Presbyterian Church. He enjoyed landscaping at his home and trying to grow huge pumpkins in his small backyard vegetable garden. He also enjoyed painting pictures with acrylics and oils.
In addition to his parents, John was preceded in death by his brother, Daniel Arbogast. He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Marilyn; his sons, Brian (Nicole) and Scott (Erin); and two grandchildren, Maria and Elijah.
The family will receive friends from 2 until 5 p.m. on Sunday, November 13, 2022, at Oakey’s South Chapel. John’s funeral will be held in the Sanctuary at Second Presbyterian Church at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, November 16, 2022. Interment will follow at 2 p.m. at Westview Cemetery in Blacksburg, VA.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a contribution in memory of John to the Virginia Western Educational Foundation, Arboretum Endowment Fund, 3093 Colonial Ave., Roanoke, VA 24015.
Online condolences may be expressed to the family at www.Oakeys.com.
Arrangements by Oakey’s Funeral Service – South Chapel, Roanoke, VA 540-989-3131.