OBITUARY

James Pressley Kerr Jr.

July 22, 1957November 17, 2018
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Hickory- James Pressley Kerr Jr, 61 of Hickory passed away Saturday, November 17, 2018 at Duke University Hospital after a brief illness. Born July 22, 1957 in Catawba County, he was the son of the late James Pressley Kerr Sr. and Helen Carter Kerr. A loving husband, father and brother, he will be deeply missed by his family and friends. Besides the love for his family, concrete was his second love. James was Senior Manager for Kerrs Concrete. Survivors include wife of 29 years Jennifer Kerr of the home; a daughter Kaitlyn Kerr of Hickory; sisters Katrina Kerr Hayes and husband Frank of Charlotte and Mary Kerr Luckadoo and husband Tommy of Hickory; a brother Roger Stephen Kerr and wife Melinda of Hickory; five nieces, one great niece and other extended family. A visitation will be held on Wednesday, November 21, 2018 from 11:00 am to 1:45 pm at Oak Grove Baptist Church. A funeral service will be held on Wednesday, November 21, 2018 at 2:00 pm at Oak Grove Baptist Church with Reverend Wayne White officiating. Burial will follow at Oakwood Cemetery in Hickory. Pallbearers will be Al Hernandez, Billy Hollar, Victor Harrelson, Davy Black, Dale Myers, Frank Hayes, Ryan Burns and Phil Whitaker. Memorial gifts may be made to Oak Grove Baptist Church, 4950 Oak Grove Church Road, Granite Falls, NC 28630. Arrangements are with Hickory Funeral Home.

  • PALLBEARERS

  • Al Hernandez, Active
  • Billy Hollar, Active
  • Victor Harrelson, Active
  • Davy Black, Active
  • Dale Myers, Active
  • Frank Hayes, Active
  • Ryan Burns, Active
  • Phil Whitaker, Active
  • DONATIONS

  • Oak Grove Baptist Church

Services

  • VISITATION Wednesday, November 21, 2018
  • FUNERAL SERVICE Wednesday, November 21, 2018
  • BURIAL Wednesday, November 21, 2018
REMEMBERING

James Pressley Kerr Jr.

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Kristie Carter

November 23, 2018

Sorry to hear about your loss. Our thoughts are with you. Kristie Carter (daughter of John), Jeb, Zoe, and Marina Bardon

Wayne and Sharon Sumpter

November 22, 2018

Jennifer, Kailyn and Family,
So very sorry to hear about James. We will miss seeing him mow that yard and always stopping to say Hello and joke around with us. It is such a terrible loss. All of you are in our prayers.

Donald Brooks

November 20, 2018

We were so sorry to hear of James passing, he was a very special man, and a great boss. He will be missed greatly but will never be forgotten. Jennifer , you're in our prayers if theres anything we can do just let us know. Donald Brooks and family

Roger Bass

November 20, 2018

Jennifer and the entire Kerr Family,
So sorry to hear of James' sudden passing!!!! I will miss his infectious smile and quick wit. The last few years, I haven't seen you guys very often. He always made you feel special, like he was genuinely glad to see you, when I would run into you guys. Many of us are truly blessed to have known him and to have been his friend. May God grant you His peace during this time of sadness and turn that sadness into pleasant lasting memories.
May God Bless You All!!

Roger Bass

Jeremy Krech

November 20, 2018

My deepest condolences to the Kerr family. It has been my pleasure to work with James over the past four years, and I found out early on that family, employees, and community were his mission.

Thoughts and prayers,
Jeremy Krech

Michael White

November 20, 2018

I am so saddened to hear of James passing. Truly one of the finest, most pleasant individuals I had ever met. He and Jennifer are very special to me and during my time at Everett Chevrolet it was always a pleasure to see James and his family. He will be truly missed.
Mike White

Mike Sloan

November 20, 2018

I am sad to read this news about James. I worked with James and Roger for many years during my time with F&R in Hickory.
Absolutely a great company to work with and professional in every way.
My condolences to all the Kerr family.

Patty Kirsch

November 19, 2018

Jennifer and Kaitlyn, I am so sorry to hear of the passing of James. I didn't know him very well but you could see the deep love the three of you had for each other. It was very apparent through your Facebook posts . I know he will be truly missed.

With love,
Patty

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Biography

“Give me a problem and I’ll hand you a solution.” Those who knew James Pressley Kerr Jr. would agree that this motto accurately described him. James was a man of great drive and a very original, independent thinker. For James, no challenge was impossible, and just about any desired result was within his grasp. James placed great trust in his intuition. Since that intuition generally led him in the right direction, who was he to doubt it.

James was born on July 22, 1957 at Richard Baker Hospital in Hickory, North Carolina. He was the son of James Pressley Sr. and Helen Beatrice Carter Kerr. His childhood found him in Highland Ave., Hickory, North Carolina where he matured into the independent person he eventually became.

James grew up with three siblings. He had one older sister Katrina, one younger brother Roger and one younger sister Mary. James could be seen as being stubborn by his siblings. It was important to him that he was perceived as “right” when it came to his part in those typical family spats. However, this quality did not over power his caring for his family. This ability to balance his family, with his need to be seen as right, helped him to develop into a young adult while enjoying many good times with his family.

During his grade school years, James was a very focused and serious student who actually enjoyed the challenge of many classroom problems. He was determined to succeed, and he drew upon his gifts of trust and perseverance to provide him with a competitive edge. James delighted in projects that required planning, critical thinking and resolution.

During high school, James was relentless in his pursuit of learning, especially in those subject areas that really grabbed hold of his interests. It wasn't that he didn't put forth his best efforts in all classes, but if a subject really interested him, he would eagerly put forth extra effort to learn all he could. James graduated from Hickory High School in 1975.

James was loyal to his friends. He found that he was most in tune with people who had similar interests and thought about things much the way that he did. James sometimes had a tendency to be critical in his friendships but he was more interested in finding out what was right in a situation rather than in being mean toward others. He never intentionally set out to hurt any of his friends. James was a person who challenged others to fend for themselves and to be original in their thinking and evaluation of the outside world. While growing up, some of his best friends were Billy Reynolds, Billy Hollar, Neil Sipe, and Gene Davis. Later in life, he became friends with Al and Lisa Hernandez, Dale Myers and remained friends with Billy Hollar.

On September 16, 1989, James exchanged wedding vows with Jennifer Myers at Oak Grove Baptist Church of Granite Falls, North Carolina. Jennifer's sensitivity to James's needs proved to be a wonderful influence on this man, who preferred to live in his “gut.” Jennifer's influence brought James to a new emotional level, one that eventually enhanced all of his other gifts and abilities. Jennifer was able to help James appreciate the fact that others made contributions and James became better at interacting with those around him. Because of this, James grew as a person.

James often neglected his own feelings in order to give to others. This was very true when it came to how he dealt with his child. He was able to hand on to his child a number of strong values. He taught her to appreciate her abilities, gave her a desire to persevere despite obstacles and set within her a drive to succeed. He had one child, a daughter Kaitlyn. She will always be aware of how much James loved her.

During James's professional working years, he was at his best when working independently. It became the hallmark of his performance. James was generally able to refocus his drive and determination and readily work toward finding a way to get things done that was beneficial to himself and his co-workers. His primary occupation was owner and operator concrete manufacturing. He was employed for 43 years by Kerr's HRM Concrete.

For James, his outside interests and hobbies became another exercise in learning and mastering areas that interested him. He greatly enjoyed unraveling the "hows" and "whys" that lay behind his hobbies. James was always pushing himself to learn more and to stretch his knowledge base even further. He firmly believed that the more things that he knew the more control he would have over things. His favorite pursuits were riding his Harleys, snow skiing, water skiing, wake skating and love to dance.

Watching his favorite sporting events by himself was never a problem for James. It allowed him to indulge in his own individual interpretation of the event. It was not uncommon for James to know what the right play or move “should have been,” and he would vocally address these feelings even if there was no one around to hear them. And if there were others around, he would still state his feelings and gladly debate anyone on their opposing views. Recreational sports included church softball. He enjoyed following his favorite sporting events. Tops on his list were Chicago Bears football, UNC Tar Heels basketball, and Carolina Panthers football.

Due to James's loyalty and passion for following things through to their conclusion, he found that he was a definite asset to many organizations. Once he was firmly behind a common goal, James's skills became an integral part of the planning process and the success of any project. Throughout his later years, James was an active member of the Catawba Valley Homebuilders Association, Professional Concrete Estimators Association, and Carolina's Ready Mix Concrete Association, Inc. James's contributions were valued as being the “structure” person of each individual organization.

James's faith allowed him to better appreciate the gifts and opinions of others. This deepening aspect of his life helped him to accept his own feelings to a greater degree. He was a member of Highland Baptist for 50 years.

While he never set out to gain individual recognition, James did receive honors and awards. Some of his most prestigious awards included ACI Level 3 Certified Concrete Mixed design Technician.

James's skepticism was visible when he found it necessary to place too much trust in one person. This was never clearer than when it was time for him to schedule a vacation or period of time away from his regular schedule. James loved the research aspects of planning a trip, but the actual process of relaxing was far more difficult. Still, he did manage to enjoy some time away. Favorite vacations included Hawaii, cruises and Tulum Mexico, Alaska, Charleston, SC, or just relaxing and having fun with his wife Jennifer and daughter Kaitlyn.

James was a lover of animals and cherished his pets. One of James's favorites was Jake, an Irish Setter dog. They were best friends for 6 years.

James Pressley Kerr Jr. passed away on November 17, 2018 at Duke University Hospital, Durham, North Carolina. James fought a brave, courageous battle against Pulmonary Fibrosis. He is survived by wife Jennifer, daughter Kaitlyn, a brother Roger, and sisters Katrina and Mary. Services were held at Oak Grove Baptist Church. James was laid to rest in Oakwood City Cemetery, Hickory, North Carolina.

James Pressley Kerr Jr. was always drawn to what was measurable, practical and factual. He was a very competent person who expected competence from others. He could be headstrong and certain about the way things were supposed to be. He was determined in every aspect of his life and certain that he was usually right about things. He trusted his intuition over all else, even if it opposed the popular belief, and he had faith in his inner vision and speculations. He wanted to be acknowledged by others as having made a contribution to whatever he was working on. His family and friends will miss his fierce determination, relentless innovations and analytic mind. He leaves with all those who knew him many wonderful memories. James will be remembered for his beautiful smile, big heart and for being the most compassionate, ambitious, loving husband and father ever!