Capt. James “Ken” Rosemond, 60, of Morehead City, passed away Monday, May 27, 2019, at Carteret Health Care in Morehead City.
His life will be celebrated at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Off the Hook in Morehead City. Please join us in wishing the captain fair winds and following seas.
Capt. James “Ken” Rosemond was the very embodiment of a storyteller. He told stories to his children, to the customers on his dive boat Tortuga, to friends old and newly met. When he told a story, his whole person lit up, and every tale he wove became an epic. His own life story was that of a curious man with an adventurer’s soul.
Born in Wilmington in August 1958, to parents Barbara Ann Ballenger and Kenneth Walker Rosemond, Ken was raised between the piedmonts of North Carolina and Georgia, alongside his younger brother Kevin. Ken spent his formative years in Durham and Athens following his father’s career coaching college basketball, a sport Ken loved as an athlete and a spectator. After graduating from Jordan High School in 1976, he became a University of Richmond Spider, following in his father’s footsteps as a college basketball player. Topping 6 feet 9 inches at the height of his height, Ken was a shoo-in for the sport (he would add here that he could also jump like a deer). It was during this time he had a truly life changing experience, a story he would tell for the rest of his life. On a college basketball trip to the Bahamas, Ken had the opportunity to snorkel on a coral reef for the first time, and he fell deeply in love. The novelty of seeing below the waves, of glimpsing another world, was enchanting and something he could never get enough of.
After college, Ken put his natural affinity for socializing and storytelling to good work and went into sales, first door-to-door computer sales and later the ultra-hip Ultra Suede. He met and married his first wife, Cathy Waldron, with whom he had three children, Elena, Reid and Ryan. They moved from Durham to Florida in pursuit of the ultra-suede dream, a move that allowed Ken to stretch his legs as a boatman and a mariner. Many of those Florida years were spent on the ocean, exploring small islands made of mangroves, snorkeling on beautiful coral reefs and (his favorite) getting hot dogs from the Coney Island hot dog boat.
In 1996, a change of careers (and family arrangements) brought Ken back to Durham, where he met his second wife, Janet Pigeon, and began selling “configuration management” (a term he could never adequately define to his children). Throwing caution to the wind and trusting their love would serve as the necessary foundation, Janet and Ken combined their six children into a big happy, “Brady Bunch”-style blended family, Lauren, Elena, Daniel, Reid, Ryan and Genevieve, six kids within six years of age. The Pigiemonds settled into Durham for a life that included plenty of growing pains, more laughter than you can measure and a lot of parental eye rolling.
After getting certified to SCUBA dive with Elena, Ken found his next adventure. With his friend Scotty Pearce, he discovered the beauty and excitement of diving in North Carolina waters, hunting flounder, exploring shipwrecks and beholding the glory of an entire world just out of sight, deeper than anything he had encountered while snorkeling and free diving. In 2008, he officially became Capt. James and christened his six-pack dive boat Tortuga. Based in his beloved Morehead City, Ken spent the last 11 years taking his customers and friends (the terms were rarely mutually exclusive) out on the sea, exploring wrecks, ledges and favorite spots under the ocean’s surface. Ken was his happiest self on the water. Never seasick a day in his life, he found peace, challenge and joy in the ocean.
Ken is loved and cherished in memory by his wife, Janet; his children and their families, Elena and Dan, Lauren and Bradley, Reid and Jourdi, Daniel and Jenni, Genevieve and Naoise and Ryan and Erin; his brother, Kevin, wife Lori and their children, Charlie and Anna; his beloved grandchildren, Iris and Everett; a large and loving extended family; and a bevy of close friends.
Arrangements are by Munden Funeral Home & Crematory Inc. of Morehead City. Family and friends are welcome to submit online condolences at www.mundenfuneralhome.net.