Ronald David “Ron” Kennerly, 89, of Davidson, NC, passed away peacefully on November 14, 2023, while in hospice care in Huntersville, NC. A memorial gathering will be held at Raymer-Kepner Funeral Home in Huntersville on Sunday, November 26th from 2-4 pm.
Ron was born at Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte, NC on October 30, 1934, son of the late R.D. Kennerly and Ruth Wentz Kennerly of Charlotte. He was a 1952 graduate of Central High School in Charlotte and received a bachelor’s degree from The Citadel in Charleston, SC in 1958. He served in the U.S. Army Infantry from 1954-56, while stationed in Fort Jackson in Columbia, SC.
Ron enjoyed life to its fullest and he pursued his passions with vigor and a sense of adventure. Before embarking on a successful career in real estate in Charlotte, he was a DJ for a local radio station in Charlotte owned by his father and was part of a skydiving team that frequently descended with flares blazing into Charlotte sports arenas in the 1960s.
Carolina beaches were among Ron’s favorite places, and he enjoyed sharing stories about early beach trips with his family during the late 1930s and 40s, long before basic conveniences were available along the Grand Strand. Especially colorful were his descriptions of experiences as a lifeguard at Myrtle Beach during his high school years. Over the course of more than 80 years, Ron and his family spent at least one week at the beach each year, never missing a trip, even if it meant riding out a hurricane. Garden City Beach, SC, became a favorite destination to enjoy swimming in the ocean, sunbathing, fishing, putt-putt golf, and local seafood. A highlight of these beach weeks was Ron’s amazing crab dip usually enjoyed along with his favorite rum cocktails.
Hunting was another of Ron’s passions. He enjoyed dove and deer hunting but was particularly fond of hunting wild turkey. He excelled at using a variety of turkey calls, which enabled him to bag a considerable number of trophy birds. His letters and greeting cards to family members and friends often included a turkey feather as his calling-card.
Ron had a distinguished real estate career. Initially he held sales and management positions with the Ervin Company and John Crosland Company, and later formed a real estate consulting and marketing firm with Walter Hendrix. In 1977, he formed Kennerly and Associates and later became one of the pioneer condominium developers in the Lake Norman region in partnership with SYNCO and the Lake Norman Company. He eventually formed Kennerly Development Company, which developed the King's Point community. Ron's projects could be found from Davidson Landing down through Vineyard Point and beyond. He was always proud to provide a lake living experience at a far more affordable price than purchasing a single-family home, which allowed a wider range of buyers to enjoy all the lake had to offer.
Davidson Development Company was formed in 1994 in partnership with his son, Chris. They continued development work around Lake Norman and in Charlotte’s Myers Park. Ron's philanthropy through his development companies included many generous donations to the Davidson and Cornelius Library projects, along with numerous other community projects and charities throughout the lake region.
Ron is preceded in death by two wives, Mary Jesselyn “Sissy” Riggsbee Wise, who he married on July 8, 1954, and Phyllis Ann Gattis Kennerly, who was married to him on July 27, 1996. He is survived by his daughter, Elizabeth Kennerly Williams (Darrell) of Fort Mill, SC; three sons, Ronald Douglas Kennerly of Red Springs, NC; Samuel David Kennerly (Gwen) of White Top, VA; and John Christopher Kennerly (Jennifer) of Davidson, NC; and a sister, Gail Hedrick of Mint Hill, NC.
Ron adored his 10 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren who affectionately knew him as “Papa,” “Papa K” or “2 Papas.” The grandchildren are Laura Williams Ciotoli (Darren) of Fort Mill, SC, Brian Edwin Williams (Amy) of Arden, NC, Aaron and Isabel Kennerly of Mooresville, Jamie Kennerly Peay (Corey) of Charlotte, J.R. Kennerly of Charlotte, Rebecca Kennerly of Red Springs, NC, Ashley Corpuz Tavares (Tyson) and Crystal Corpuz (TJ Marinelli) of Cleburne, TX, and Rodney Corpuz of Mooresville, NC. His great-grandchildren are Paul and Ella Ciotoli of Fort Mill, SC, Clyde Williams of Arden, Kingston and Kaya Peay of Charlotte, and Kehau and Ka'ena Tavares and Caleb and Gabriel Corpuz of Cleburne, TX.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Hospice and Palliative Care of Iredell County, www.hoic.org.
Online condolences and memories may be shared at www.KepnerFH.com