Robert Merritt ‘Bob’ Kermon III, 78, retired principal who created memorable summer vacations

Robert Merritt ‘Bob’ Kermon III

WILMINGTON — Robert Merritt “Bob” Kermon III, 78, was surrounded by the love of his family when he passed away peacefully at his home Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021.

Bob was born Oct. 4, 1942, in Wilmington to the late Mary Meares Kermon and Robert M Kermon Jr.

He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Gail Otts Kermon; sister, Mary Anne Hughes (Warren); daughter, Alma Anne Doehrer (Tom); sons, Robert Merritt Kermon IV (Maya) and James Clifton Kermon (Caroline); and grandchildren, who were all very close to him, Alex Swan, Andrew Swan, Robert M. Kermon V, Natalie Kermon, Juliana Kermon, Caleb Kermon, Kaley Kermon and Camille Kermon.

Bob grew up in Wilmington and spent many hours at his grandfather’s home in Wrightsville Beach. He was a graduate of New Hanover High School (1960) and enlisted in the U.S. Army March 21, 1961. Bob was assigned to 16th Special Forces group, 101st Airborne and was honorably discharged Jan. 13, 1965.

Bob attended Wilmington College, where he met his future wife, Gail Otts. He earned a B.A. Degree in 1968 from Wilmington College. Bob began working for the Pender County Schools that same year. While teaching, he also served as an officer for Kure Beach Police Department from 1968 through 1970 and eventually had to make a choice between the two careers. He chose to dedicate his life to education.

His career in education began as a teacher at Topsail. While a teacher with Pender County Schools, he established the first integrated Boy Scouts of America troop in the Cape Fear Council. In 1971, he established a coed Explorer Scouts with the focus in SCUBA diving. Bob’s dedication to youth and education earned him the position of assistant principal for Topsail High School. In 1983, Bob received a Master’s Degree in Education from UNCW. Two of his children attended Topsail while he was assistant principal, riding to school and spending quality time with Dad. Bob left Topsail in 1989 and helped establish and became the first director of Pender Learning Center in Burgaw from 1990 to 1995. From 1995, until retirement in 1998, he was the assistant principal of West Pender School. Mr. Kermon was respected and loved by his students, especially those at Topsail. Many continue to reach out to his family to check on him.

Bob and Gail brought up their children at Wrightsville Beach in the same home that his grandfather had built long before Bob was even born. He was the type of neighbor that brought the community together though cookouts, homemade pizza and donuts and swimming parties off their pier. Every Christmas, Bob would make a point to bake hot, homemade cinnamon buns for his neighbors while his children delivered the still warm goodies.

Being teachers, Bob and Gail would always try to make summers fun and vacations that were full of adventure and learning. They traveled across country and throughout all the contiguous United States. They later traveled with their grandkids on many small trips and across the United States, even going to Alaska. They took trips to Mexico, Indonesia, the Philippines, Japan and Ireland. The two had dreams of seeing the world that were, unfortunately, cut short sooner than they had hoped. But that didn’t stop Bob from still looking and dreaming.

Bob will be missed for his love, sarcasm, laughter and knowledge. Thank you to Lower Cape Fear Life Care for their support through this difficult time.

Dad, we will miss you so much our hearts hurt, but we will be strong like you were and continue to love and support each other.

Funeral services were private.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to either Lower Cape Fear Life Care or Wrightsville United Methodist Church.

Share online condolences with the family at Andrews Mortuary & Crematory.

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