Robert "Bob" Vermace
Robert Eugene "Bob" Vermace passed away Monday, Jan. 29, 2018, at his home surrounded by his family.
Bob was born in Iowa City on Dec. 29, 1934, to Wilma (Carney) and Cyril Vermace, the second of six children, James (Sandy), Helen "Dede" (Dale) Harker, Martha "Toots" (Forrest) Parks, Charles "Mort" and Jeanne Bischof. Bob's family lived in Oxford; Fort Meade, S.D.; Morellton, Ark.; and Bellevue, Neb., as his father's Army assignments changed. The family eventually settled in North Liberty and later moved to the Green Castle area. Following his eighth-grade graduation from Green Castle Country School, Bob moved to Iowa City, enrolled in University High School and supported himself as a busboy at the Huddle Cafe in the Jefferson Hotel. He transferred to Oxford High School when his family moved to Oxford and graduated in 1953 having been elected president of his class.
Immediately after his graduation, Bob reported to the Marine Corps Reserve Depot in San Diego and started his service as a proud, and forever, Marine. Following his basic training and earning his Expert Rifleman credentials, he served in an intelligence detachment in San Francisco until his discharge as sergeant in 1956. Bob returned to Oxford and on July 30, 1956, took employment at the new Proctor & Gamble plant in Iowa City.
On July 8, 1958, while visiting a Marine friend from Northwood, he met Shirley Van Every, a nursing student from Mason City. At the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, they enjoyed the last dance of that evening. Bob and Shirley soon after recognized the inevitable, made their commitments to one another, and were wed on July 8, 1961, in Mason City. Bob and Shirley were blessed with three children, Mike, Julie and Tim.
Bob continued his career at P&G and was promoted to management in May 1963. He soon began another career, which was service to the youth in his community. His commitments and leadership reflected his sentiment that the future of his state and nation lie in the expectations of next generations. He served as a Webelos leader and Cub Master and, along with Shirley, as a den leader. He coached Little League and when his Julie wanted to play ball too he recognized that his daughter should be afforded the same opportunities as his sons. So, along with Bill Twaler and Phil Holland, he co-founded Iowa City Girls Softball. And like he had done for Mike, and later Tim, he coached Julie.
In 1973, Bob was elected to the Iowa City School Board and served for six years following his participation in the Mark Twain Elementary PTA. He served as the school board president for two years. He contributed in many other ways including as director of Babe Ruth Baseball and as a member of the welfare committee for the Johnson County Board of Supervisors. The Iowa City Chamber of Commerce awarded Bob a Certificate of Commendation for Service to Youth in 1989 recognizing his efforts.
Bob retired from P&G in March 1993 then began his third career as grandparent and traveler. He and Shirley made several trips to Europe and even witnessed a rare "perfect game" at Dodger Stadium. They made many, many trips to golf tournaments, baseball, softball, and soccer games, and to countless choir and band concerts. Their grandchildren participated and performed knowing Grandpa and Grandma were there.
Bob's survivors include Shirley, his wife of 56 years; his son, Mike (Shirley Jenkins) and grandchildren, Charlie, Eddie and Ruth, all of Decorah; his daughter, Julie (Chris) Montgomery and grandchildren, Ben (Jennifer), great-grandchildren, Mason and Kendall, Luke (Janessa), and Hannah, all of Cedar Rapids; his son, Tim of Cedar Rapids; and his sister, Martha "Toots" (Forrest) Parks of Cedar Rapids. He also left his sister-in-law, Tena Nelson of Houston; and many nieces and nephews.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, James and Charles "Mort;" sisters, Helen "Dede" and Jeanne; brother-in-law, Dale Harker; and his nephew, Brad Parks.
Bob's family is especially grateful for the care he received while at Briarwood Health Care Center and from Essence of Life Hospice and Home Instead Senior Care when he was home.
In lieu of flowers, a donation to a youth organization of your choice is suggested. Online condolences may be left at www.gayandciha.com.
Visitation will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 2, at Gay & Ciha Funeral Home in Iowa City. A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the funeral home with a luncheon to follow. A graveside service, with military honors, will be at the Oxford Cemetery following the luncheon.