Bob was fond of saying, “Lord, it’s been a good time coming through.” He got to directly express his gratitude to his maker Wednesday, August 30, after suffering from a number of illnesses including kidney cancer, a partially paralyzed diaphragm and congestive heart failure. He made a peaceful transition from his home, surrounded by the love of his family.
An avid fisherman, golfer, bowler, marksman, Redskins fan, volunteer and tomato plant-whisperer, Bob was known for his big heart, positive spirit, sense of humor, community service, strong faith, and most of all, his love of family. He loved the outdoors and was a proud member of the Cheroenhaka-Nottoway tribe. He was many things to many people.
To his parents, Roberto Nery and Elizabeth Davis Nery, he was a devoted son. To the younger sisters he adored, Sylvia Nery Strickland, Sarita Nery Ranger (Pierre), and Rebecca Nery Weaver (Robert), he was their committed protector and “Bubba.” To the love and light of his life, Minnie Earline Harrell Nery, he was her best friend, paramour, soul mate, and other half for over 56 years. To his brothers and sisters-in-law, he was a good friend who could always be counted on to lend a hand or tell a funny story. To his children, Tracy Nery Kunzler (Neil), Kelly Nery Strejeck (Doug), and Robert Nery III, he was the ultimate cheerleader, homework helper, haunted house maker, daughter date sentry and teacher of important life skills. To his grandchildren, Cole and Duke Kunzler, Christina Kalocsay, and Keoni Nery, he was a loving and doting “Papa.”
Born in Virginia on April 26, 1939, he was a 1958 graduate of Norview High School and in recent years, enjoyed membership in the class’s “ROMEO Club,” (Retired Old Men Eating Out). A talented sculptor and painter, he was the recipient of an art scholarship to Old Dominion University upon graduation from high school. Before meeting Minnie, his first love, pride and joy was the 1957 blue and white Ford he purchased in high school. His love of cars would later translate into a decades-long career of keeping them up and running.
In Minnie’s senior year, when Bob spied “the prettiest thing he’d ever seen” exiting the school bus, that Ford quickly took a backseat. He asked his companion and good bud Perry who the goddess was. After Perry replied, “Oh, that’s just my sister,” Bob insisted on an introduction. A courtship ensued, and in 1961, they married. Never has the phrase “two became one” rang more true than when Bob and Minnie wed. She was truly the love and light of his life. Never has there been a more loving and devoted spouse than Minnie who has served as a tireless nurse and champion throughout his many medical battles the last 6 and a half years, spending countless nights at hospitals and attending to Bob 24/7 while in hospice care at home the last five months of his life.
Before there were Pep Boys or Auto Zone shops, Bob co-owned and operated Kempsville Auto Supply in Virginia Beach, one of the largest auto supply companies in the area, for 17 years. He later worked in sales for fleet supply companies. He was a walking manual of truck and auto part numbers, and there wasn’t a car he couldn’t fix.
He was a member of area Lions’ clubs for 30 years, serving as the President of the Aragona-Pembroke chapter and later as Zone Chairman and Region III Chairman while with the Kempsville Lions Club. He cheerfully worked many a cold afternoon and evening selling Christmas trees and walked many miles door-to-door selling brooms in the organization’s efforts to raise money to help the visually-impaired. He had a special way of putting preschoolers at ease and making sight and hearing screening tests fun for them during numberous Lion's Club Photo Screenings at area schools.
Bob was an active and devoted member of Thaila Lynn Baptist Church where he served on the Joy Seekers and Tellers committees. He greatly enjoyed Sunday sermons and all church events and counted his church friends as cherished family.
His children will remember him for the elaborate haunted houses and Halloween parties he crafted, the heart-shaped boxes of Valentine’s candy on their pillows every February 14th, the overflowing Easter baskets he would create and all the many life lessons he taught them. They will remember him, most of all, for his devotion and wit and the belief he instilled in each of them that they could do and be anything they wanted to in life, and that he would be their loudest cheerleader.
He loved lemon desserts, picking crabs, playing softball, bowling, watching football, cold beer, oysters, growing the perfect tomato and the tastiest collards, fishing on the beach, grilling a tender pork butt, and listening to country crooners. Most of all, he loved God and family.
In short, for Bob, it truly was “a good time coming through,” as well as a time of doing good for others. In his heaven, Bob is likely surfcasting for spot and flounder at Sandbridge Beach, cold beer in hand, surrounded by family and friends and dreaming of the fish fry and football game to come later that day.
A memorial service will be held Thursday, September 7 at 5:30 pm at Thaila Lynn Baptist Church in Virginia Beach followed by a reception and refreshments in the church’s fellowship hall. In lieu of flowers, a donation to Thaila Lynn Baptist would be greatly appreciated by Bob. You may visit https://www.thalialynn.com/online-giving/online-giving-e-th-
ithing if interested in doing so. Bob’s family would like to extend a huge and heartfelt thanks to the staff of Compassionate Care, most especially Ashlie and Abigail Mullikin, who took such kind and conscientious care of him in his last months as well as minister Dr. Prentis McGoldrick for his friendship, spiritual guidance and many visits made to Bob during his many hospital stays over the last six years as well as the entire, amazing ministral staff of Thaila Lynn Baptist Church.