Recognized for his contributions and dedication, Kermit Esarey is inducted into the 2022 SJO Hall of Fame

ST. JOSEPH -- St. Joseph-Ogden High School will introduce four new inductees to the St. Joseph-Ogden Hall of Fame during the Spartan football team's Homecoming game against Nokomis. The distinquished group includes 1960 graduate Dee Evans, former three-sport athlete Brandi Carmien Burnett, veteran teacher Kermit Esarey, and The Gary Olson Family.

Below is a short biography and highlights about Kermit Esarey provided by the high school.

Kermit Esarey

Kermit was born and raised in southern Illinois. He graduated from Mt. Carmel High School in 1940.

He attended the University of Illinois, College of Agriculture, majoring in Agricultural Education. He was drafted into the Army after his junior year as a 2nd Lieutenant. He returned to the U of I after his release from the military and received his Bachelor’s degree.

He began his teaching career at Scotland High School where he taught for one year. He then taught at Cisne High School for four years. He moved to St. Joseph and started teaching at St. Joseph High School in 1952. He completed his Master’s degree that same year from the U of I and continued his teaching career at what is now St. Joseph-Ogden High School until his retirement in 1982. He was also the FFA advisor while teaching at SJO.

Kermit was married to his wife, LaDema for 73 years. She preceded him in death in 2017. They had one daughter, Gail, who lives in Arlington, Texas with her family. After Kermit’s retirement, he and LaDema moved to Texas to be closer to their family. While they resided in St. Joseph, Kermit and LaDema were active members of the St. Joseph Methodist Church. Kermit was also a member of the local Lion’s Club and the IAVAT.

Kermit was awarded the Honorary State FFA Degree in 1979 as well as an honorary membership in the Alpha Tau Alpha fraternity. Kermit supervised more than 20 student teachers during his career at SJO. He would often say that some of his greatest satisfactions in life were to visit with former students and encourage them to become successful in ag related fields.

In 2020, his daughter Gail established a scholarship at the U of I in his name to be awarded to a student majoring in the agricultural field. Kermit passed away in 2019 at the age of 97. Kermit was the oldest of four brothers. We are honored to have several members of his family here with us tonight to receive this award in his name.

Thank you to Kermit Esarey for your dedication to the SJO school! Congratulations once again to Kermit Esarey and his family for the induction into the St. Joseph-Ogden High School Hall of Fame.