Saturday, July 30, 2016
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM EDT
The family invites friends and acquaintances to a celebration of Bob’s life.
2030 Shawnee St.
Traverse City, MI 49686


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

Cherryland Floral
1208 S. Garfield
Traverse City, MI 49686
(231) 941-5761
Driving Directions
Web Site

Flower Station
341 W. Front St.
Traverse City, MI 49684
(231) 946-1742
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


Robert Vincent Kern, husband, father, teacher, naval aviator, of Traverse City, Mi, died in his sleep on July 21, 2016 at the Birchwood Nursing Home from complications of pneumonia. He was 93 years old.

Robert, better known as Bob, was born on October 1, 1922 in Detroit Michigan. He was the son of Herman and Marion Kern and the eldest of seven siblings. He grew up on a farm in Adrian, Michigan and graduated from St. Mary’s High School in 1940. That fall, he enrolled at Michigan Normal College (now Eastern Michigan University). His undergraduate education was interrupted by the outbreak of World War II. In June, 1942, he enlisted in the US Navy and entered officer’s candidate school and aviation training. He served in the South Pacific as a member of VS 66 scouting squadron from 1944 to 1945. After the war ended he remained on active duty and served as a primary flight instructor at NAS Pensacola, NAS New Orleans and NAS Glenview, IL. Upon separation from active duty in June of 1947, Bob returned to Michigan Normal College and completed his bachelor’s degree in special education/industrial arts. He later earned a Masters degree in Industrial Art Education at Wayne State University.

While at Michigan Normal College, he met Margaret (Peggy) Laird and they were married on June 24, 1945. Bob and Peggy raised four boys, David, Michael, Tom and John in Royal Oak, Michigan. Bob was a special education teacher with the Detroit Public Schools from 1947 to 1978. In 1960 he was selected to participate in a program with the US Dept. of Education that provided vocational training and assisted special need young adults with on-the-job training placement. Over an 18-year period he helped hundreds of young adults with special needs find full time jobs with Detroit area employers. Upon his retirement from teaching, he worked as a project assistant for Giffells Associates, an architectural and engineering firm, based in Detroit.

In 1984 Bob and Peggy retired to Beverly Hills, Florida. For the next thirty plus years they spent winters in Florida and summers at the family cottage on East Bay. In his retirement he enjoyed golf, creating stained glass artwork, and volunteering for the National Cherry Festival. He also enjoyed his part time work as a ranger/starter at the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa.

He is survived by his wife of seventy one years, Peggy. Also surviving are his four sons, David (Carol), of Naperville, IL, Michael of Petoskey, Tom (Rosie) of Traverse City and John (Anne) of Coeur d Alene, ID. Grandchildren include, Michelle Converse, Holly Garces, Amanda Mancilla, Mathew Kern, Thomas Kern, Melanie Kern, Christian Kern, Peggy Kern and Samantha Kern. He is also survived by his siblings, Betty Olewiler,Jack Kern, Ken Kern and Howard Kern. He was preceded in death by two of his younger brothers Larry Kern and Jerry Kern.

The family invites friends and acquaintances to a celebration of Bob’s life on Saturday, July 30 at the summer cottage, 2030 Shawnee Street, Traverse City, from 1 to 4 pm. Please visit www.lifestorytc.com to sign the guest book and share a message with the family. The family chose Life Story Funeral Home, Traverse City.