Robert Cecil Kerce, Jr., of Oldsmar, Fl., was welcomed into the arms of Jesus on December 31, 2020, surrounded by his three loving daughters, at the age of 67.
Robert was born January 12, 1953, to M.E. Calloway and Robert Cecil Kerce, Sr., in Palatka, Fl. The oldest of six siblings, Robert was raised in Palatka by his mother and stepfather Lester Calloway. He loved sports and excelled in baseball from childhood through high school.
Robert loved to tell the story of the two greatest decisions of his life and how the two were intertwined. While visiting church with a friend when he was 19, he met up with a girl he had gone to elementary and high school with—Cindy Green. They later started dating, but she broke up with him when she realized he was far from a Christian. Soon after, on August 14, 1972, Robert knelt at the coffee table of a close friend’s house and surrendered his life to Christ. He was forever changed. He and Cindy were married the following year on September 22, 1973. He felt God’s call to become a preacher, and they moved to the Tampa Bay area while he attended Bible college. The couple remained there, raising their three daughters, Rachel, Whitney and Meghan.
Robert was a man of many talents. He was athletic director, coach, and history and Bible teacher at Oldsmar Christian School for 11 years before becoming a parks and recreation leader for the City of Oldsmar for the next 17 years. He was an ordained minister, and he and Cindy were youth leaders at Oldsmar Baptist Church, where Robert taught Sunday school and often preached over the 47 years he attended there. Robert was a gifted and humorous writer, popular for his employee newsletter and humor columns in the city newspaper, and later for his spiritual Facebook posts and articles. He became a parks supervisor, organized many city events and fundraisers, and led the senior citizens department before retiring in 2007.
Cindy Green Kerce, Robert’s wife of nearly 47 years, passed away in July, just shy of 6 months before him. Robert is survived by daughter Rachel Platt and husband Tommy Platt; daughter Whitney Stoutimore and husband Zachariah Stoutimore; daughter Meghan Kerce; and 9 grandchildren, Peyton, Jordan, Aiden, Alexander, Carson, Emma, Laila, Abbigail, and Jeremiah; all of Oldsmar, Fl. He is also survived by his mother M.E. Calloway, sister Selene Mast, sister Jeannine Collins, brother Ricky Kerce, brother Michael Calloway, brother James Calloway, and many beloved in-laws, nieces, nephews and extended family.
Robert will be remembered for his deep love for God and his wife, for his witty and insightful writing and speaking, and for his love of all things related to sports, history, military and the Bible. He was known simply as “Coach” to former students and athletes, “Papa” to his grandchildren, and “Special K” to the kids in his youth ministry. He leaves behind a legacy of faith and love, and will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
A memorial service will take place on Saturday, January 23, 2021, at 11 a.m. at Oldsmar Baptist Church, 650 Burbank Road, Oldsmar, Fl. 34677.
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