A Funeral Mass for retired Lt. Col. Robert Michael (Bob) McDermott, 84, was held at 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, at St. Mary's Catholic Church. Mr. McDermott died at his residence Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013.
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A native of Kingston, he was born Aug. 1, 1928, the son of the late Michael and Elizabeth Gertrude McLaughlin McDermott.
Bob (also affectionately known as Mac) was an all-state football player at Kingston High School in Kingston, such that he received a scholarship to the University of West Virginia. While attending college he became active in the ROTC and upon graduation went directly into the U.S. Air Force, where he flew F-86 and B-52 jets.
He served his country in the Korean War and received many acclamations; among these awards were the Distinguished Flying Cross and honors during his 20-year military career. While in the Air Force, Bob earned the certification of "Triple Headed Monster"–which actually meant that he was trained as a navigator, radar and bombardier specialist; a certification earned only by the best of the best.
Bob was widely admired and respected by his fellow pilots for his devotion to duty and his tremendous flying ability. He was also a member of Strategic Air Command, which was a group of pilots who had to be ready for flight at a moment's notice; he often flew the B-52 for 36 hours straight awaiting his next orders.
After retiring from the Air Force, Bob began flying for Federal Express on May 30, 1972. As one of the original pilots, he was the first to get 1,000 hours flying in the Falcon. As the company grew, Bob went on to fill the position of chief pilot for the company and then flew as a captain in the DC-10 fleet. When Bob turned 60 years old, the FAA said that captains could no longer sit in the left seat; if they continued to fly it had to be in the engineer position, so that's where he ended his career with FedEx–he loved flying that much!
While flying in the "back-seat" he met the love of his life, Ann, who was also a company employee jump seating on the same flight he was a crew member on. They shared 22 beautiful years and many happy memories together.
As a man he stood head and shoulders above most. His greatest satisfaction in life came from doing for others; he was arguably the most generous, kind-hearted man you would ever hope to meet.
He is survived by his wife, Ann Rushing McDermott, Jackson, Tenn.; daughters, Judy May and husband, David, Little Rock, Ark.; and Lesia Rushing, Collierville, Tenn.; and four grandchildren, Deborah Kieszek, Christa Kieszek and husband, Kurt Johnson, Hayley Sheu and husband, Chris, and Lindsey May.
He was preceded in death by a sister, Eileen Ross and, two brothers, John Donald McDermott and Gerald McDermott.
Arrington Funeral Directors, 148 W. University Parkway, Jackson, Tenn., 731-668-1111, was in charge of arrangements.
For information, visit www.arringtonfuneralgroup.com.
Published in Citizens' Voice on Jan. 25, 2013