Gormly died of a cancer in June 2016 at age 52.
“It is a true honor to recognize the legacy of Kevin with his memorial bench,” said PLHS principal Hans Becker. “Kevin was many things to many people, and a man of honor. He never said a disparaging comment about anyone. I learned so much from him. He was my friend and I miss him every day.”
Longtime Point Loma Association member Robert (Tripp) Jackson was one of several speakers who paid tribute to Gormly.
“I got to know him when my daughter was attending PLHS,” said Jackson. Gormly’s memorial originally was to take the form of a median planting with attractive hardscape or drought-tolerant plantings on the corner of Voltaire and Chatsworth in front of the school. But Jackson added that idea proved unworkable.
Nonetheless, Jackson noted, “I felt very strongly we needed to do something.”
It was after that attention turned to finding an appropriate spot on campus for Gormly’s memorial.
“We toured the school and identified the area between the gym and the science building,” Jackson said, adding, “We decided to install a bench with a tree and plaque.”
Jackson said Dan Howel, owner of South Coast Concrete, constructed a patio area and bench with a hibiscus tree that ultimately turned into the Gormly memoriam.
Of Gormly, Peninsula Beacon writer Scott Hopkins commented: “Kevin grew up in Chula Vista, but loved the history of PLHS. The students at the school also loved Kevin. He had a unique way of approaching them and talking to them all the time, showing his interest in them.”
Hopkins added Gormly was a high school football player at Hilltop in Chula Vista. “Part of his duties at PLHS involved overseeing athletics, and he loved watching the teams play and succeed,” Hopkins said.
In an article in the Peninsula Beacon memorializing Gormly, Hopkins pointed out the educator had an infectious, trademark smile known to “thousands of Point Loma High School students, staff, parents and community members over l7 years.”
Gormly’s tenure at PLHS began in 1999 when he arrived on campus to teach Spanish and social science. In 2003, he was selected for a vacant vice principal position, which lasted until October 2015. At that time, the popular administrator began experiencing headaches, which ultimately proved to be a brain tumor.
“I failed to realize how the sight of Kevin and his ever-present smile picked me up during a difficult day or rough week,” concluded Hopkins.