By Ken Gillespie
You can easily spot John DeRemer at Nocatee’s monthly Farmers Market. He’s the guy manning the Jaguars display tent, decked out in official teal and black gear. A natural born promoter, DeRemer is a member of Jaguars’ Champion Club, a select group of more than 150 season ticket holders who boost our home team in their own Jacksonville communities. Next time you visit this great outdoor market, stop by the Jags tent and you’ll be sure to get a feel for his enthusiasm.
DeRemer and his wife Debbie have called Nocatee home since 2008, residing in the Del Webb development. Self described as a small town boy, he grew up in Glen Gardner, N.J., population 1,000 at a time when he became the town’s first ever Eagle Scout. The area’s rural character encouraged DeRemer to love the active outdoors.
Along life’s way he’s notched a few notable achievements: certifying as a scuba dive instructor (wife Debbie also is a certified diver); teaching the martial arts; serving 12 years as a volunteer EMT; managing the largest big truck dealership on the East Coast; and becoming a fervent student of World War II history. At present, DeRemer is employed as a key sales rep for a major fire alarm systems company.
Q. How did you come to live in Nocatee?
Debbie and I decided more than 10 years ago to make a dramatic change in our lives — to leave snowy New Jersey and relocate to Florida. We first settled in the Julington Creek area. Following early news buzz about Nocatee’s startup, we plunged in. Have never regretted it, loving the great community amenities and making great friendships. I’ve been a Del Webb Men’s Club member for years and Debbie has served as president of the Women’s Club. We even convinced my mom to leave Jersey and join us.
Q. Tell us about your passion for scuba diving.
Two highlights come to mind. First, I had the opportunity to explore a German submarine wrecked off the coast of North Carolina in 1942. It was a surreal experience to descend to 120 feet then maneuver inside the tight tube, silently moving all the way to its control room and conning tower. I still treasure a rubber stamp found in debris of what was once U-Boat 352.
Another thrill was descending into waters of the Truk Lagoon, the world’s largest graveyard of sunken ships as a result of a U.S. air raid on the prime Japanese fleet’s South Pacific naval base in 1944. The raid is said to be the Empire’s equivalent of America’s Pearl Harbor: 80 ships were destroyed. Diving there has to be on every serious diver’s bucket list. All told, I have more than 1,500 dives under my belt and Debbie counts more than 400. It’s such a life gift that we share this passion.
Q. What lies ahead for you?
I’m thinking, just thinking, about retiring, at least part time. I’m a driven person, still loving marketing and sales. I hope to consult in the commercial fire alarm systems business in the years ahead. Also, Deb and I like to travel and are spending more time in Jersey where our children live along with many friends from boyhood days. But Nocatee remains our anchor. In fact we are selling our present Del Webb house and downsizing; guess where — right here in Del Webb.
Q. What thought would you like to leave with our readers?
Photo courtesy John DeRemer