OBITUARY

John Scott Kerr

July 7, 1943July 5, 2020

John Scott Kerr passed away peacefully at his home in Scottsdale, AZ on July 5, 2020 surrounded by his loving wife and “forever buddy”, Bonnie (Lynn Jennings) and faithful friend, his golden retriever, Samson. John was two days shy of his 77th birthday.

John was born on July 7, 1943 in Washington, DC and lived briefly in Atlanta, GA before settling in Short Hills, NJ with his family at the age of 3 where he lived until he was married. He attended high school at the Pingry School, Elizabeth, NJ, graduating in 1961. John received his undergrad degree from Kenyon College, Gambier, OH, in 1965 and his Master's Degree from The Breadloaf School of English, Middlebury, VT, in 1972. He became a Certified Financial Planner from the College for Financial Planning in 1996. During his high school and college years he was very active in sports; particularly, football, wrestling, and track and field.

It was while attending Kenyon College that he met his future wife, Bonnie. They were married on August 14, 1965 and would have been celebrating their 55th anniversary this year.

After graduating from Kenyon College, he and Bonnie moved to CT where John taught English at the Taft School, Watertown, CT, for two years. He then enlisted in the U.S. Army where he served until June 1970 as a Staff Sergeant E6. John was an Area Intelligence Specialist in Da Lat, Vietnam for one year during his service to our country. While in Vietnam, he taught English as a second language to many Vietnamese, several whom he knew quite well and was instrumental in their coming to live in the U.S. He has maintained relationships with them to this day.

After serving in the Army, he and Bonnie began a long career at the Kent School, Kent, CT. He held many positions while at Kent; including, English teacher, Director of Admissions, Director of Planned Giving, Senior Development Officer and Asst. Secretary of the Corporation. In addition, he coached Varsity Wrestling for several years. John retired from Kent School in 2009 after 39 years. While living in CT, John pursued his love of singing and was a member of a classical singing group and Barbershop chorus.

John and Bonnie left CT and retired to Southport, NC in 2009 where they enjoyed coastal living. He was an active member of St. Philip's Episcopal Church. While in NC, John took up water color painting at the Franklin Gallery. He was quite successful, had several shows, won many awards, and sold many originals both in NC and in Canada.

In 1972, John and Bonnie bought property in South Harbour, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, where subsequently, over the next 12 summers they built a round silo home which was featured in Fine Home Building Magazine in the February/March 1988 issue. John always had a love for woodworking and built and restored many pieces of furniture over the years, but this was his first and only attempt at homebuilding! He and Bonnie spent every summer in Cape Breton for 46 years.

John battled thyroid cancer for 12 years after being diagnosed in 2008. He underwent a total laryngectomy at the Duke University Medical Center in 2015. As his disease progressed, he and Bonnie chose to move to Scottsdale, AZ where he could receive treatment at the Mayo Clinic and where they could also be closer to family.

Besides his wife, Bonnie, John leaves a sister-in-law, Peggy O'Rourke, wife of Brian, Cave Creek, AZ, a nephew, Michael Roberts and his wife, Mandie, and two great-nieces, Kenzie and Delaney, Anthem, AZ and a niece, Carla Roberts and her partner, Stacie Kortz, Claremore, OK. He was preceded in death by his parents, one sister and one brother. John also leaves his beloved furbaby, Samson, and will be welcomed by many others at the Rainbow Bridge.

Celebration of Life plans are curently pending.

In lieu of flowers, Bonnie requests that you send monetary contributions in John's memory to either:

The Grayhawk Classic Residents' Foundation (a scholarship fund for the Vi at Grayhawk employees pursuing higher education) 7501 E Thompson Peak Parkway, Box 100 Scottsdale, AZ 85255

or

Desert Voices Laryngectomy Support Group c/o Prostrollo 7375 E San Alfredo Dr. Scottsdale, AZ 85258

These two organizations were very near and dear to John and he would sincerely appreciate your contributions to either one of them.

Memories

John Scott Kerr

have a memory or condolence to add?

ADD A MEMORY
Martha Holcombe

August 3, 2020

Dear Bonnie,
We learned of John's death from our daughter Melissa, who is in the math department at Kent School and forwarded the announcement to us.

The three of us were so sorry to learn of the lengthy battle with cancer that he so courageously endured. Our hearts go out to you as we imagine the pain that his illness surely caused you.

I was fascinated by John's obituary and was amazed by the non-Kent School achievements that we hadn't been aware of.
To me the most affecting part of the obituary had to do with John's service in Vietnam. I loved that he taught English to the Vietnamese people who worked with him - and that he helped them get to the US and then stayed in touch with them! That part of his story was especially meaningful to me because he and Tom were born the same year, and it looked to me as if they had both enlisted in the Army in 1967, on the advice that if they enlisted for three years they could choose the branch they were in, thus avoiding direct combat. [Tom managed to avoid Vietnam entirely by working his way into the organist-choir director position at Ft. Dix Chapel Center.]

But Vietnam was such a dangerous in those days that you must have been terrified all that year! Our son Alec lived in Hanoi for a few years after college. After that he studied SE Asian history, and when I proofread some of his papers I learned about Dalat. I haven't been there (we visited Vietnam in March, 2008), but I know that it's a beautiful, cool place where important conferences have been held, so the name meant something to me when I saw it in the obit.

Anyway, Bonnie, please know that you and John are very much on our minds and in our hearts as you face each day in this new reality. We wish you the healing of time and the ebbing of sorrow.

Fondly,
Marty

Carol Steele

July 28, 2020

We met John and Bonnie when they visited our retirement community a couple of years ago. We had been recruited to host a lunch with prospective new residents and we were enchanted with them both. Several months later, much to our pleasure, they moved in and we began to call them friends. John was always the consummate gentleman. He had a great sense of humor and lived with grace and dignity. We are so sad that we didn't have an opportunity to extend our friendship, but are grateful that Bonnie continues to be a part of our lives.
Carol & Bob Steele
Vi at Grayhawk, Scottsdale, Arizona

Servane Rogers

July 25, 2020

Twinkle in his piercing bright eyes, dimples in his cheeks always on display, warmth and abundant love in his heart for all: friends, colleagues students,family and wife.
He was an even tempered gentleman of many talents. My husband John and I are grateful to have spent vacation time with John and Bonnie in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. We enjoyed hearing his barber music and seeing his art work in the galleries of Southport. When I was teaching at Kent School, I always thought of him when I was hanging up my coat on the coat rack he made for Bonnie and the other, lucky teachers who shared her office. Rest In Peace, John. You fought a long, heroic and generous fight. A bientot.
Servane Rogers

Sally Jorgensen

July 25, 2020

Another photo from the fun Yosemite trip with John and Bonnie. John and beloved Sammy.

Timothy Isaacs

July 25, 2020

Roommate forever: Pals since we were classmates at Kenyon College. Renaissance Man: artist (painting and woodworking), carpenter and furniture-maker, English literature scholar, all-around athlete, woodsman. We shared a love of "Moby Dick,” antique shops, the out-of-doors and chocolate eclairs. One of a kind, you will be sorely missed, John. “Straight wake with ye.”

Tom and Pat Carter

July 24, 2020

Dear Bonnie, we are so very sorry to hear of John’s passing and of your loss. Our friend John was always so positive and fun to spend time with. We were so very fortunate to spend our time in Southport with you both. So special to have two of John’s original paintings hanging in our home. He was so very talented. We went to the Post Office today to see his painting on the wall there. We will never forget our times together. Please know we are here for you and wish you peace and comfort in your time of grief. Tom and Pat

Sally Jorgensen

July 24, 2020

I met John and Bonnie 10 years ago because they are life-long friends of my husband, Tim Isaacs, and John and Tim were roommates at Kenyon College. I found John and Bonnie both warm and talented people and fun to be with. Having been a professional watercolor painter, I was especially impressed with John's proficiency with that very unforgiving medium. He became quite masterful. Portraits especially are a challenge, and he jumped right in doing them and doing them well. As he had with woodworking prior to that. Then we followed the Trials of Job he endured over the next years, again impressed with his stamina and persistence. Also with Bonnie's unrelenting love and support and patience. The photo is from a trip together to Yosemite in 2011. John's absence will leave a big hole in a lot of hearts.

Cora Michalis Thomas

July 24, 2020

The Kerr's were a big part of my life at Kent. I interviewed with Mr Kerr and Mrs.Kerr was my adviser for 3 years. Mr Kerr used to stay with my parents when he came to Long Island to speak on behalf of Kent School. They were very fond of him. He was always a very kind and caring man. I am so sorry for your loss Mrs. Kerr my thoughts and prayers are with you
love
Cora

RICHARD STAAT

July 23, 2020

Bonnie and family,
I would always remember how much pleasure John gave us in our class. He accomplished an awful lot in his life. One of his water color paintings is hanging in the gallery classroom for all to admire.
We all liked John's sense of humor and his never give up attitude.
He was a good friend to all of us and we will miss him.
Richard Staat and Tuesday Watercolor Class.

Annchen Wallich

July 23, 2020

Dear Bonnie and Peggy, I am so deeply sorry for your great loss. My memories of 'Mr. Kerr' at Kent are of a kind and warm-hearted man, always greeting us students with a smile when we passed by each other. His ability to encourage and affirm us were so appreciated - even though I never took an English class from him at Kent, his friendliness in the Dining Hall and hallways always brought something uplifting and good to a simple and brief chat. He sought to build and never tear down, a wonderful quality in someone who stood in loco parentis for so many young students. I will keep you all in prayer.

FROM THE FAMILY