KERR, John Ferguson|
John Ferguson Kerr died at home on August 21, 2014 after a struggle with leukemia.
He was born June 30, 1944, in San Antonio, Texas, the middle child and only son of Wallace and Lucy Kerr.
At Alamo Heights High School, he was editor of the school newspaper, an Eagle Scout, and played enough football to realize he should have played tennis. His classmates voted him most courteous and most representative.
He attended Rice University as an undergraduate, and often said he was never surrounded by so many smart people again. As dining hall chairman his senior year, he made the pre-supper announcements and enjoyed entertaining his college mates with stories which popped into his head while studying. None were ever written down. During the summers, he worked as a reporter for the San Antonio Light.
After graduation, he shipped out to South Korea, where he spent most of his two-years of active duty as an army lieutenant. While there he served as sponsor of the Korean-American Fraternity, an English language club for Korean university students.
Back home, he earned a master's degree in communications at the University of Texas. Best of all, he met and married Susan Anderson, the great love of his life.
After graduation, he joined the Foreign Service and served as a diplomat in Mexico City for two and a half years. He put on a number of cultural presentations, including a well-attended Buster Keaton film festival, and served as speech writer for Ambassador J.J. Jova.
Returning to Austin, he signed on with a Texas government agency as a writer/producer of corporate videos, television public service announcements, and documentaries. His last job was serving as a press secretary and speech writer for an elected state official. From 2003 until 2010, when his wife was diagnosed with cancer, he wrote freelance.
As a resident of Hyde Park, he was active in the neighborhood association. He edited the association newsletter for a year, and served as president and in other positions. For ten years he wrote the newsletter's April Fools' spoof. He was always surprised when people believed them, and someone always did.
He was a regular on Austin tennis courts, in the lap lanes at Deep Eddy pool, and on the trail around Lady Bird Lake. For many years he served as lector at St. Mary's Cathedral.
He was happiest reading to his wife and children. The family never owned a television.
Susan was the bright and bountiful center of John's life. He often told her, "You are all I desire in the land of the living." Early on she expressed her desire to walk the Camino de Santiago, a 500 mile pilgrimage trek across northern Spain. Following her untimely death in 2011, John walked it for her, leaving locks of her hair along the Way. His account appears at johnfkerr.com.
As his death approached, John frequently expressed gratitude for the era and country in which he lived, the neighborhood where he spent most of his life, and the family and friends who enriched his life beyond telling.
John is survived by his son, Andrew Kerr, his wife Linda, their two children, Alex and Anna; his daughter, Ellen Kerr; two sisters, Mary Denny and her husband Kleber, and Linda Hardy and her husband Dan; sister-in-law Barbara Anderson-Thomas and her husband David; three nephews and four nieces.
Following a private graveside service, John will be buried with his wife in San Antonio. A memorial service will be held at St. Austin's church on Monday, September 1st, at 11 a.m. Friends wishing to contribute to a memorial are directed to the Susan Anderson Kerr Scholarship, Texas Early Music Project, 2905 San Gabriel, Suite 204, Austin, TX 78705 www.early-music.org.
Published in Austin American-Statesman from Aug. 24 to Aug. 25, 2014