John Russell Brill

February 19, 1960 - February 2, 2024

John Russell Brill, 63, of Dayton, Virginia (formerly of Middletown, VA) passed away on Friday, February 2, 2024, at Sentara RMH Medical Center in Harrisonburg.

He was born on February 19, 1960, in Gaffney, SC, and was the son of Esther (Burch) Brill, of Dayton, and the late Leyburn Russell Brill, Jr.

Surviving in addition to his mother are his twin sister, Jeanne May & husband Kenneth, of Dayton; and nieces and nephews, Brian Savitt & wife Susan of Eden, Utah, Scott Savitt, of Brandon, FL, Kristin May Oyer and husband Shawn, of Jamestown, RI, and Jaclyn May Pugh and husband Douglas, of Marine Corps Base, Quantico, VA; and nine great nieces and nephews. As he had no children of his own, his nieces and nephews and their children held a special place in his heart, as did his uncle, John Burch, of Pompano Beach, FL., for whom he was named.

John was preceded in death by his older sister, Deborah Jo Brill, in 2004.

John was born with the disease PAPA Syndrome (Pyogenic arthritis-pyoderma gangrenosum-acne), a rare autoinflammatory disorder. He was a decades-long participant in the National Institute of Health's study of the disease. His family hopes his contributions to the study, both physically and intellectually, will enable researchers to find a cure and allow persons afflicted with the disease to enjoy pain-free, fruitful lives. The disease and treatment side effects presented many challenges and profoundly influenced John's life. Despite these hurdles, John used his intelligence and perseverance to graduate from Drew University (Madison, NJ) with a degree in Political Science. While at Drew, he received a scholarship to study at Oxford University in England. Upon returning to the U.S. he participated in the Masters Programs at Stony Brook (NY) University and George Washington University until health issues made it impossible to continue. John worked for a period of time for the George Washington University Medical School Admissions Office (DC) and FEMA (Berryville, VA).

John was an avid fan of the Washington DC sports teams and a follower of politics. He was always ready to have a robust conversation about both topics and all things in the news.

The family wishes to thank the Bridgewater / Dayton area emergency personnel, the Sentara RMH Critical Care Unit, and Johnson Funeral Home for their compassion and care of John. In addition, the family wishes to thank Pastor Terri Luzynski and the Montezuma Church of the Brethren congregation for their support through this difficult time.

A service celebrating John's life will be held on February 18, 2024 at 2:30 PM at Montezuma Church of the Brethren with Pastor Luzynski officiating. Honorary pallbearers will be his nephews, Brian Savitt and Scott Savitt, his nephews-in-laws, Shawn Oyer and Douglas Pugh, and lifelong friend, Christopher Kelsch. The family will receive friends following the service at the church.

John's ashes will be interned at his father's home church cemetery, Timber Ridge Christian Church in High View, WV, at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Montezuma Church of the Brethren Building Fund, 4937 Ottobine Rd, Dayton, VA 22821, or Timber Ridge Christian Church, PO Box 66, 5700 Christian Church Rd, High View, WV 26808

Online condolences may be sent to the family at

Arrangements are entrusted to Johnson Funeral and Cremation Service in Bridgewater.