Dr. Robert “Bob” McDermid played a number of roles throughout his 30 years with Missouri Southern.
He was a longtime member of the Psychology Department faculty, known to his students for his knowledge and kindness in the classroom. He was an advocate for his colleagues during the nearly 10 years he served as chair of their department. And he was known as a mentor and friend to those he worked with each day.
McDermid, who retired from MSSU in 2020, passed away on July 3.
One of his personal qualities that stood out most was his sense of compassion toward others, and especially his students, says Dr. Tony Adamopoulos, professor of psychology.
“Bob was a counseling psychologist, so some of his training probably helped,” says Adamopoulos. “But it was always just in his nature. Students appreciate feeling like a teacher understands them. And I often heard from his students how funny he was.”
Joining the faculty in 2004, Adamopoulos was quick to connect with McDermid over their shared love of KU and the Jayhawks.
“That was something we bonded over,” he says. “Even after he went into phased retirement, he’d text to see if I was watching a game.”
Adamopoulos says he appreciated McDermid’s in-depth knowledge of the history of the Psychology Department, as well as his appreciation for a spirited debate.
“I felt like I knew some of the professors who preceded me, even if I never met them,” he says.
“One of the things I liked about Bob was that he liked to challenge a claim, which could lead to a debate between the two of us. He had a different perspective, and I always liked those conversations. Some might mistake it for arguing, but we’d disagree on something, go back and forth on it, then part ways as colleagues and friends.”
One of the most important things in McDermid’s life was his love for his family, says Adamopoulos. Survivors include his wife Terry, of more than 40 years, and his two sons, David and John.
“Bob was always sharing major events in his family’s lives, especially his sons … whether it was marriage, getting a job, or playing college baseball,” he says. “My last communication with Bob was about a week and a half ago, when his first grandchild was born. He had gone up to St. Louis and he texted me pictures of him and Terry holding their grandchild.”
A memorial service has been scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 7, in Webster Hall’s Corley Auditorium.
His obituary can be read on Mason-Woodard’s website.