Robert M. McDermott

Jan. 16, 2013

Robert Michael "Bob" McDermott, lieutenant colonel retired, 84, a native of Kingston, died at his residence on Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013.

He was born on Aug. 1, 1928, a 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, 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 other 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 SAC (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 captains 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 was preceded in death by a sister, Eileen Ross; and two brothers, John Donald McDermott and Gerald McDermott.

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.

Funeral Mass for Lt. Col. retired Robert Michael McDermott was held at 10 a.m. Monday, at St. Mary's Catholic Church.


Published in Times Leader on Jan. 25, 2013