WINTER HAVEN, Fla. - Robert L. "Bob" Pemberton, 85, of 4074 Lake Marianna Drive, Winter Haven, Fla., died of congestive heart failure Sunday, July 7, 2013, at his home surrounded by his loving family.
Bob was born July 16, 1927, in Damascus, to Elmer and Helen Gilbert Pemberton.
He was a birthright Quaker who attended Friends Elementary School in Damascus as a child. He graduated from Bristolville High School and was a proud World World II U.S. Navy veteran, having served on the U.S.S. North Carolina and U.S.S. Midway.
He married his high-school sweetheart, Vivian Harper on April 4, 1947. The couple made their home in Bristolville until their move to Florida in 1999.
Bob was employed by Republic Steel Corp. in Warren for almost four decades, beginning as a laborer and working his way up to general superintendent of Silicon, Galvanized and Terne operations before he retired in 1984 with many patents in steel manufacturing to his credit.
He was active in the Association of Iron and Steel Engineers throughout his long career - one which he thoroughly enjoyed.
Bob was member of the Bristolville United Methodist Church for 55 years, serving the church in many roles. Among organizations, Bob was a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Family Motor Coach Association, the National Wildlife Association and the Audubon Society.
Bob and Vivian enjoyed camping and traveling in their RV and visited all 50 states and many foreign countries. He enjoyed watching wildlife and maintained many bird feeders during his Ohio winters. In Florida, he enjoyed watching the great variety of wildlife and birds from his home on the lake.
Bob was creative and inventive and known to many as someone who could and would design, rebuild or repair almost anything, large or small. More importantly, Bob was a very caring man who was always generous with his time and talents, using his expertise to help neighbors, friends and family. He stayed active during his retirement, doing everything from repairing grandchildren's broken toys, to renovating his church's parsonage to installing an elevator in the church itself for the benefit of the elderly and handicapped.
Bob was proud of and devoted to his family, and his pride and devotion were returned.
He is survived by Vivian, his loving wife of 66 years, who is a retired Kent State University Trumbull Campus English professor. He is also survived by his three children, Sharon (Jim) Garber of Ivor, Va., and Land 'O Lakes, Fla., who retired from Wakefield High School in Arlington, Va.; Charles (Dolly) Pemberton of Hillsville, Va., who retired from LaBrae High School in Leavittsburg; and Steven (Jennifer) Pemberton of Wellington, Fla., who teaches at W. Boca High School in Boca Raton, Fla.
Lacking a college degree himself, Bob valued education and was proud that all three of his children became high-school teachers and that his adult grandchildren received college educations.
In addition to Vivian and their three children, he leaves behind his nine grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, all of whom he had the joy of seeing within his last year. He was their beloved "Papa" who was always ready to applaud their achievements and sympathize with their disappointments.
On Bob's 86th birthday, July 16, the family gathered at his home for a private birthday-memorial celebration and a scattering of a portion of his ashes at sunrise in Lake Marianna.
His funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Aug. 10 at the Bristolville United Methodist Church in Bristolville, with the family greeting friends at 10 a.m.
Family friend Rev. Shirley Frantz and Pastor Rev. Roger Morton will officiate.
His ashes will then be interred in the Pemberton family plot at Sager Cemetery in North Bristol, where military honors will be provided by the Trumbull County Veterans Honor Guard.
To show their appreciation to Hospice, the family requests that instead of flowers, memorial contributions be made in Bob's honor to Good Shepherd Hospice, 105 Arneson Ave., Auburndale, FL 33823.