Longtime Merritt Islander and Automobile Dealership Owner Robert Evans Ennis Passes Away at 100

By  //  February 18, 2021

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Merritt Island Presbyterian Church office building bears his name

Robert Evans Ennis, 100, passed away peacefully on Thursday, February 4, 2021, at Kingston Residence in Hickory, NC. He spent 50 years on Merritt Island and thrived in the business that would become Bob Ennis Olds-Cadillac-Nissan.

Spent 50 Years on Merritt Island, Was Owner of Bob Ennis Olds-Cadillac-Nissan Dealership

HICKORY, NORTH CAROLINA – Robert Evans Ennis, 100, passed away peacefully on Thursday, February 4, 2021, at Kingston Residence in Hickory, NC.

Born June 18, 1920, in Connelly Springs, NC, Bob was a son of the late Maude Evans Ennis and Robert Reed Ennis and the youngest of five children. In addition to his parents, Bob was preceded in death by his loving wife Mary Lou, brothers Bill, Frank, and Howard Ennis, and sister Mabel Ennis Branch.

Bob attended Valdese High School, then served our country as a Sergeant in the US Army’s 335th Bomb Squadron, 95th Bomb Group (H) in Europe during World War II. He was also a member of the Mighty Eighth Air Force.

Upon returning to the states at the end of the war, brother Bill, an accomplished mechanic, put Bob to work selling cars that he was able to buy and repair. This began a lifelong career in the automobile business. In the mid-1940s, Bob borrowed everything he could and purchased the Plymouth DeSoto dealership in Valdese, NC.

In 1950 Bob’s finest accomplishment was realized when he married Mary Lou Botts. Soon after, this new team relocated to Marion, NC where Bob acquired his first General Motors franchise.

Recognizing the larger market potential, the two again pulled up stakes and moved to Merritt Island, FL. They spent the next 50 years there and thrived in the business that would become Bob Ennis Olds-Cadillac-Nissan.

His time in Merritt Island fostered long-lasting friendships that he cherished. Having never met a stranger, Bob’s quick wit and engaging sense of humor endeared him to so many. He was a devoted member of Merritt Island Presbyterian Church where their office building still bears his name.

After retirement, Bob and Mary Lou moved to High Point, NC to enjoy family and discover new friends. Bob was an ardent supporter of Carolina Caring, High Point University, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and The Salvation Army. His final years were spent in Hickory.

After 67 years of marriage, Bob lost Mary Lou in 2017. He is survived by Christy Ennis Barus (Tim) of Carrboro, Robert Cecil, Jr. of Granite Falls, Zachary Cecil (Susannah) of Clemmons, Jackie Ennis of Icard, Tim Ennis of Connelly Springs, Sheila Ennis Ezell (Lee) of High Point, Sarah Ezell of Charlotte, Matthew Ezell (Ashleigh) of Dallas, GA, Robin Ennis Lowman (Jack) of Connelly Springs, and many extended family members.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Carolina Caring, 3975 Robinson Road, Newton, NC 28658 or Merritt Island Presbyterian Church, 600 South Tropical Trail, Merritt Island, FL 32952.

A private celebration of life service will take place at a later date. A special thanks to Carolina Caring nurses and the entire staff at Kingston Residence for their continuous loving care.

An online guestbook and obituary may be found at www.HeritageFuneralServices.com

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