Rev. Dr. Robert L. Jemerson, Retired Chaplain Colonel USAF, is an ordained minister of the American Baptist Church. He is a native of Dallas, Texas. He has earned degrees from Bishop College (B.A., 1966), Virginia Union University School of Theology (M. Div., 1969), Presbyterian School of Christian Education (M.A., 1970), one year Clinical Pastoral Education at the Medical College of Virginia, and Drew University (D. Min., 2001).
In addition to ministry as a parish pastor, he has experience as a counselor. Reverend Jemerson entered the Air Force as a Chaplain Candidate in 1968. He was the first American Baptist Seminarian commissioned in the United States Air Force Chaplaincy Candidate Program. Rev. Jemerson was called to active duty in February 1971. His major contribution to the Air Force is the establishment of the gospel worship services. Rev. Jemerson is the first and only Black American Baptist Church Chaplain to obtain the rank of Colonel in the United States Air Force. He was the first Air Force Chaplain to receive the highest degree in Prince Hall Masonry, the 33rd Degree. It was received in October l977.
Reverend Jemerson served as the pastor of the First Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Dallas, TX, Union Mission Baptist Church, Crozet, VA and the Eastminster Presbyterian Church, Richmond, VA. He was the first Black Baptist Minister to receive A Special Dispensation from the Presbyterian Church in America to serve as the pastor in a Presbyterian Church. He also served the Tabernacle Baptist Church and the First Baptist Church in Petersburg, VA, as interim pastor.
Reverend Jemerson is involved in the community as Past President of San Antonio Community of Churches, serves as a member of the Board of Directors of San Antonio Mission Ministries; National Council of Christians and Jews; Top Church Steeples and served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Carver Cultural Center Development Board. He is currently serving a second term on the Board of Trustees for Our Lady of the Lake University, Advisory Board Wayland Baptist University in San Antonio, Texas, and Board of Trustees for the Ecumenical Center for Religion and Health. He is an active member of the NAACP, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, 33rd Prince Hall Mason, Optimist Club of America, Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, and VIA Metropolitan Transit 2025 Task Force. In 1973, he was awarded the distinction of being one of the “Outstanding Young Men in America” and in 1989 he was the recipient of the American Baptist Churches “Military Chaplain of the Year”.
Pastor Jemerson has led Second Baptist Church, community and organizations in many firsts in San Antonio. The Homework at Second Baptist (H.A.S.) Program serves as a tutorial program for underprivileged students in grades one through eight. His “Thanksgiving-In-The-Park” ministry serves to provide much needed clothing and food for needy families, in addition to fellowship between church members and local residents. In collaboration with the “Cactus Pear”, he brought for the first time to the Eastside community, members of the San Antonio Symphony, exposing 800 young people to Classical Music. Under his leadership, the “Community of Churches” contributed over $35,000.00 to Black Churches destroyed by fire, $9,000.00 to three flood damaged churches and was instrumental in the organization honoring the first Black Layman in its forty year history. Through his leadership, over twenty young adults have attended the National Conference of Christian and Jews’ Camp Anytown. He also was instrumental in the selection of their Black honorees, a physician, a senior clergyman and a couple.
As a member of the above named organizations, he has participated in fund drives that have netted over $3 million dollars. In October 1998, Reverend Jemerson was recognized for “Outstanding Service” to the Community of San Antonio by the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. He received the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Trail Blazer Award-2001 and the Phi Delta Kappa Sorority Hall Of Fame Award-2001. He is currently serving a second term on the Board of Trustees for Our Lady of the Lake University. In 2010 Rev. Jemerson received the City Public Service Amazing Energy Award and the United Communities of San Antonio Brotherhood/Sisterhood Humanitarian Award.
On a national level, Reverend Jemerson served the Progressive National Baptist Convention as Vice President At Large of the Southwest Region and continues to hold the office of endorser for all the convention’s Chaplaincy Services. He is responsible for supervising the ministry of seventy-five chaplains. In December 2001, he was elected the Chairman of the National Association of Military Chaplains. This body oversees the endorsements and ministry for all chaplains (1000+) civilian and military.
Reverend Jemerson is married to the former Jacqueline Locke of Buffalo, NY. They have one son, Attorney Robert L. Jemerson, Jr.