US Navy

James Kernen

July 25, 1926 ~ September 24, 2020 (age 94)

Obituary

Jim Kernen, 94, passed away peacefully at home on September 24, 2020. He was born July 25, 1926 in Holidays Cove, West Virginia and moved to Akron in 1950. 

A simple man of humble farm boy beginnings, his strong work ethic, determination and zest for life led him to achieve much during his 94 years. Jim’s love of school began as a young boy; he was very proud of his 12-year perfect attendance record. Although he never missed a school day, he always missed being in the top academic rankings and likely substituted his charm, smile, and good looks for lack of completed homework—a tactic that served him well. His only school absence occurred when, in his senior year at age 17, he joined the US Navy in the midst of WWII. He served in the first crew aboard the USS Furse destroyer and endured typhoons, Japanese attacks, the dangerous removal of sea mines in the Pacific, and the peeling of too many potatoes. Jim returned to finish his senior year at Sistersville High School, and then went on to Glenville State University, WV, where he played football and baseball and roomed with his lifelong friend from boyhood.

After graduating he married his beloved high school sweetheart Jean Richmond and they moved to Akron where they began married life. They were active members of the First Baptist Church of Akron for 40 years, and were wonderful, proud, and devoted parents to their daughter Marilyn. Jim worked for Goodyear Tire & Rubber until he pursued a career in education, which became a lifelong passion. He started as a sixth-grade teacher at Greenwood Elementary and later became principal of the school, where he received the recognition of Model School of the Year. Jim also served as principal of East Liberty and Kleckner Elementary, before returning to Greenwood to finish his 36-year career. His love for education, students and dedicated staff, made him often remark, “If they only knew I’d do the job for free.” Jim saw true treasure and value in every child who passed through his school doors and obtained immense pleasure from watching “his kids” (a.k.a. crumb crunchers) grow and become confident, valuable citizens with a firm academic foundation. He had a soft spot for the underdogs—those who had to work the hardest and had challenging circumstances, as Jim did in his early life.

Being a dear and loving “Gramps” to granddaughters Kaitlyn and Lauren and being “Grampy” to great granddaughters Caroline James and Allie Jean brought him immense joy and laughter. The more Jim cared about you, the more he teased you. His daughter, granddaughters, great granddaughters, nieces, staff, and numerous students were all victims of his unrelenting but well-intended teasing.

After retirement he moved to Columbus, where he enjoyed living out the rest of his life with committed partner Maria Wilkes. Together they visited friends and family, including spending time with Maria’s son Nick and grandsons Ray and Juergen, enjoyed camping and hiking with their dogs, gardening, antiquing, visiting the Ohio State Fair and Columbus Zoo, and attending annual USS Furse ship reunions.

Jim will be remembered for many things, his love of family, country, OSU football and Woody Hayes, his enjoyment of hunting, his West Virginia twang, and his trademark sayings, such as “you’re a goomulfatchet for a gadlefay” and “you have more problems than Carter has liver pills.” Jim’s sense of humor, passion for life, and his enormous presence in the lives of many will be greatly missed. His family finds comfort in knowing he’s no longer suffering from physical ailments and envision a healthy and vigorous Jim with Jean, friends and family by his side roaming the hills of Heaven.

Jim was preceded in death by his wife, Jean and sisters, Eleanor Bennett and Edith Fulton. He is survived by his daughter, Marilyn (Philip) Konicky; granddaughters, Kaitlyn Dreyling (Seung Lee) and Lauren (Luke) Woodson; great-granddaughters, Caroline James and Allie Jean Woodson; companion, Maria Wilkes; nieces, Cindy Fulton, Karen Bennett and Christine Martin; as well as many friends.

Funeral service will be held at 12 P.M. on Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at Schermesser Funeral Home, 600 E. Turkeyfoot Lake Rd. (SR619), Akron, Ohio 44319.  Family and friends may call on Wednesday from 10:30 A.M. until the time of the service at the funeral home where social distancing and health protocol (i.e. wearing of face covering, staying 6 feet apart, no handshakes or hugs) will be followed while at the funeral home.  Interment will take place at Greensburg Cemetery.  In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Jim’s name to Holt International Children Services, 250 Country Club Road, Eugene, Oregon 97401 or to Turner Syndrome Society of the United States, 11250 West Road, Suite G, Houston Texas 77065.  If you are sick or do not wish to attend, we understand, and all love and prayers will be accepted by visiting our website at www.schermesserfh.com.  

SCHERMESSER
(330) 899-9107
www.schermesserfh.com

Memorial Contributions:

Holt International Children Services
250 Country Club Road   
Eugene, OR 97401

Turner Syndrome Society of the United States     
11250 West Road, STE   G         
Houston TX 77065

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of James Kernen, please visit our floral store.


Services

Visitation
Wednesday
September 30, 2020

10:30 AM to 12:00 PM
Schermesser Funeral Home
600 E. Turkeyfoot Lake Road
Akron, OH 44319

Video is available for this event


Funeral Service
Wednesday
September 30, 2020

12:00 PM
Schermesser Funeral Home
600 E. Turkeyfoot Lake Road
Akron, OH 44319

Interment following funeral service
Wednesday
September 30, 2020

Greensburg Cemetery
4890 Thursby Rd
N. Canton, OH 44720

Donations

Holt International Children Services
250 Country Club Road, Eugene OR 97401
Web: https://www.holtinternational.org/ways-to-give/

Turner Syndrome Society of the United States
11250 West Road STE G, Houston TX 77065
Web: https://turnersyndrome.z2systems.com/np/clients/turnersyndrome/donation.jsp

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