OBITUARY

Robert Kermon Thomasson

6 February, 193612 July, 2021
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R. Kermon Thomasson passed away at his home in Martinsville, Va., July 12, 2021, as a result of a major stroke. Born February 6, 1936, he was the son of the late Posie and Ruth (Draper) Thomason, and he was quite proud of his Henry County origins. The majority of his life was spent in serving the Church of the Brethren as a missionary and denominational leader.

Kermon’s first five years of education took place in a one-room school in Figsboro, Va. Later, in 1954, he graduated from John D. Bassett High School, then received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education from Bridgewater College in 1958. Following graduation, he taught two years of high school in Manassas, Va., then he entered Brethren Volunteer Service and was assigned to teach in the Brethren-sponsored school in Waka, Nigeria. He remained in Nigeria for thirteen years as a missionary and teacher. He taught history, geography and English.

Kermon is survived by his wife, Margaret (Wampler) Thomason, one son, Galen and wife, Holly (Williams) Thomasson, grandson Levi, and granddaughter, Heidi. He is also survived by a sister, Ellen Thomason; two brothers-in-law, J. Paul Wampler of Bridgewater, Va., and Guy E. Wampler, Jr., Lititz, Pa., and by six nieces, one nephew, five great nieces and nephews, three great-great nephews and one great-great niece. Two other sisters, Mavis Rice and Carlene Blankenship, preceded him in death.

Following his missionary service in Nigeria, Kermon returned to the United States and began a long tenure on the staff of the Church of the Brethren, headquartered in Elgin, Illinois. He served as a writer and illustrator for Brethren publications, exhibits and books, until he became editor of the denominational magazine, MESSENGER. His tenure on the denominational staff spanned from 1974 until 1998 when he retired to live at his parental homeplace in Henry County, a Southern style home affectionately known as “Old Shady Grove.”

Kermon had many interests and talents. His artistic ability was particularly renowned and one of his favorite books he illustrated was “Brethren Brush with Greatness,” authored by Frank Ramirez. Kermon was passionate about genealogy and historical vignettes, many of which he penned for a regular series of articles in the Martinsville Bulletin. He also organized the annual reunions of the Draper and Thomasson families for many years. He had a particular interest in US presidential history and data. A little known fact about his loyalty to friends was manifest in his continued patronage for a lifelong college-formed singing group known as the Wardo Quintet. Kermon was their “manager,” arranging places for them to perform long after their association in college.

Kermon’s smile and sense of humor endeared him to his many friends and family. It was always a pleasure to receive a card or letter from him, for not only would your address be lettered with beautiful calligraphy, but his anecdotes about his activities and news were skillfully laced with artful descriptions, making the prose flow with anticipation and amusement.

A memorial service is planned for Monday, July 19, 11:00 a.m. at Collins-McKee-Stone Funeral Home on Broad Street in Martinsville. The family will receive guests at 10:00 a.m. as well as at the conclusion of the service. Memorial gifts may be sent to Brethren Volunteer Service, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120.

  • FAMILY

  • Posie Thomasson, Father (deceased)
  • Ruth Draper Thomasson, Mother (deceased)
  • Mavis Rice, Sister (deceased)
  • Carlene Blankenship, Sister (deceased)
  • Margaret Wampler Thomasson, Wife
  • Galen Thomasson, Son
  • Holly Williams Thomasson, Daughter-in-law
  • Levi Thomasson, Grandson
  • Heidi Thomasson, Granddaughter
  • Ellen Thomasson, Sister
  • J. Paul Wampler, Brother-in-law
  • Guy E. Wampler, Jr., Brother-in-law
  • Robert is also survived by seven nieces, one nephew, five great nieces and nephews, three great-great nephews and one great-great niece.
  • DONATIONS

  • Brethren Volunteer Service

Memories

Robert Kermon Thomasson

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Deloris Minter

31 July 2021

Great guy loved his smile even had him laughing at times. It was my privilege to take care of him at Kings Grant Retirement Community

Joane Eby

20 July 2021

Dear Margaret and family,
How well I remember Kermon! He was one of my parents', John and Mildred Grimley, favorite friends. He and Dad would spend many moments enthralled in their discussion of art techniques and history. Whenever possible, Kermon delighted in joining the family in our hikes up Uba Mountain, always stopping at the ruins on the top to discuss their possible origins and pace out the size of the village that once existed there. Kermon designed and did the calligraphy for Ron's and my wedding announcement. My heart goes out to all of you; may the many good memories hold you in peace. - Joane Grimley Eby

Lois (Baldwin) Good

20 July 2021

Dear Margaret and family -
I remember being in awe of Kermon's artistic abilities, as a young girl in Nigeria. But mostly I celebrate him as one of my mother's (Ferne Baldwin) favorite fellow historians, genealogists, illustrators, and collaborators...with a delightfully wry sense of humor. My love and prayers are with you as you live in these days of grief, of celebrating a good life, and of so many adjustments. Treasure the rich memories, savor the love...and keep passing it on.
With gratefulness for Kermon's life,
Lois (Baldwin) Good

Chris Bowman

19 July 2021

Respect and appreciation for Kermon as staff at the Church of the Brethren offices and a personal friend. His wry humor and love of a good story were keen. His support and encouragement of my gifts helped shape my future. Thank you. Godspeed.

Renee Davis (Baad)

19 July 2021

As a BVS'er in 1979-80 in Elgin, Kermon was a support to all the BVS'ers serving there at the time. He had a good sense of humor and was generous with his time. I have nothing but fond memories of Kermon! Rest in peace.

Esther Hamer

19 July 2021

Dear Margaret and Galen and others in your family

I remember Kermon and Margaret as they served the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria--they, as teachers, on the western side of the mission at Waka Schools and I and my late husband, Dr. John L. Hamer, as a nurse and a physician at Lassa General Hospital.
Though we didn't see each other often we always enjoyed his humor and his art work and writings.
I extend my sympathy to you and pray that you will receive comfort and peace at this time.
Esther Hamer

Liz Jorgensen

19 July 2021

My dad Thurman Clark was Kermon's first cousin, so I was small growing up not knowing Kermon that well. I do remember the adventures that my grandmother Bertie Clark would tell me about that he would go on. He was always trying to keep all of our family history going.
God has gained a special person.

Liz Clark Jorgensen

Dean Oellig

18 July 2021

Dearest cousins: my wife and I would like to share our condolences with you! I am the son of Richard S. Oellig (deceased) and Margaret (88)- living in GA with my sister. My name is Dean and I am the little boy in Kermon and Margaret’s wedding picture! I remember that day and I also remember tripping and falling- I was so embarrassed!
Anyway- I wanted to reach out and tell you that we are praying for the family!
Blessings and Love in Christ, Dean and Jeane Oellig

Glen Draper

18 July 2021

In August 1960 Kermon and I traveled to Nigeria to serve two years volunteer work in CoB Mission in NE Nigeria. We served almost opposite ends of the Mission territory, He at Waka Schools(colleges) and I at Lassa.

My stories with Kermon could fill a book, finishing with our 2+ month journey to the Nile River in Sudan and through Jerusalem area and around European classic art sculptures and de Louvre art in Paris, London, Amsterdam, and Reykjavic, Iceland..., and back to his homstead and mine in time for a national election day.
What a transfoming excusion he generated for an Iowa farm boy who hadn't left Iowa four years earlier.

Plus his genealogical searches for his Draper mother turned up information revealing my Draper ancestry back to Boston Draper, the son of a "pirate captain" that surprised my family.

My life was transformed by my experiences with Kermon and later life treasured communications from him.

Goodbye, friend! I love my experiences with you.

Desmond Kendrick

17 July 2021

My sincere condolences to the family of Kermon Thomasson. He was a friend and fellow historian for many, many years. He, his sisters, and myself went on many "history jaunts" and compared historical knowledge over the years. These were special times that I will not soon forget. He was a special friend to many and shared his love of history, especially family history, freely. His passing leaves a void that cannot be filled.

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