Bob LeMay, died peacefully at his home Friday afternoon. Bob was very active until his passing, not allowing surgeries over the past year to slow him down.
Bob was born in Memphis, Tennessee to Thelma Watson LeMay and Robert Walston LeMay, Sr. In his youth, he and his father enjoyed hunting and fishing, making headlines in the local newspaper for his prized catches. Bob was also a dedicated Boy Scout and attended the first National Scout Jamboree in Washington D.C. in 1937.
Bob attended the University of Tennessee studying industrial engineering and participating in R.O.T.C. Before he could graduate, he was assigned to the Army Corps of Engineers as a 2nd Lieutenant serving in the European Theater. As a combat engineer he served at the front lines building roads and bridges for troops and armored divisions. His performance earned him the Army Commendation Medal and the rank of Captain.
After the war Bob was assigned as the head of the R.O.T.C program at his former high school in Memphis. During this time, he also met and married Shirley Dell Campbell in 1946. Afterward, they moved to Cincinnati where he subsequently graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 1954 with a B.S. in Vocational Education. He then went on to graduate from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in 1957 and earned his M.B.A. from Syracuse University in 1958. He concluded his education at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, PA in 1962. He held command assignments in Germany, Taiwan, Korea and the Pentagon. After more than 21 years of service, he retired from the military as a Lieutenant Colonel.
In 1965 Bob moved to Raleigh, NC to take the position as Dean of Men at W.W. Holding Institute, now Wake Technical Community College. In 1966, Bob was appointed president of Wake Tech until his retirement in 1979. During his tenure, Wake Tech experienced unprecedented growth and development, which laid the foundation for becoming one of the best community colleges in the state. In 1975 the trustees of the school dedicated LeMay Hall in his honor.
In the decade following his retirement from the school, Bob served as a consultant to government entities in Ethiopia, Gambia, Sierra Leon, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Bob was an avid golfer and a founding member of North Ridge Country Club. He also enjoyed many other interests such as woodworking, gardening and cooking. His most enjoyment though came from traveling with Shirley. Some of their favorite destinations were Germany, Ethiopia, Italy, and Egypt.
Bob was preceded in death by his beloved wife who passed away in July 2014. He is survived by his only child, Sandy LeMay Jones (Jim) of Raleigh; his grandchildren, Taylor LeMay Jones of Raleigh, Brooks Jones Blake (Titus) of Garner, and Harris LeMay Jones of Raleigh; and his great grandchildren, Riley Brooks Blake and Gracie Brooks Blake.
Bob’s family will forever be grateful to his caregiver, Alice Njoroge, for 7 years of devoted service to both Bob and Shirley.
A memorial service will be held at Saint Timothy’s Episcopal Church on Six Forks Road in Raleigh at 11:00 am on Saturday April 18th. The family will receive friends in the church parlor after the service. Inurnment will be held at a later date at Arlington National Cemetery.
Arrangements are under the care of Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, 300 Saint Mary’s St. Raleigh, NC 27605.