Emery says goodbye to Gordon Kerr

By Sean Delaney

Gordon Kerr was a man with a massive impact on the community of Emery Village, and his loss has been felt by many.

Gordon Kerr died on January 12, 2021, at the age of 89.

Kerr moved to a home in Strathburn Park in 1959. In 1966 Kerr became a professor in the computer department at Humber Community College, where he would spend the next 26 years. Kerr began his working career with Prudential Insurance, but after several years of night school, earned a degree in economics from York University in 1972.

He and his wife Doreen contributed time to the home and school associations, with Gordon serving as president from 1967 to 1972, including chairing meetings and helping organize special events, movie mornings, a league for intramural sports and more. Kerr was known to include the local aboriginal community in his work with the school, taking advice from members of the Brantford First nation and seeing a special “Broken Nose” mask carved and given to a winning group each year. Children would also receive leather neck thongs, with small hand carved neck slide symbols that Kerr procured form local artisans.

Kerr was a member of the local church board and active in helping produce a church newsletter, organizing social events and served as treasurer.

He was known for his experience and comradeship in maintaining the building and grounds.

To aid children in the community, Kerr helped spearhead “Fiesta Days” in Strathburn Park. Activities such as a community parade down Strathburn Boulevard, a bike rodeo on the tennis courts, and many other games would highlight it.

Kerr was also known for gathering hoses and shovels annually from the City of North York and flooding the tennis courts and baseball diamonds to make hockey rinks for youth.

“He provided so much fun for all during the winter months,” his daughter Kathy said. “It did mean many cold nights for flooding and shoveling, but it proved its worth.”

And for 15 years, Kerr was a proud scout leader. He was also in charge of transportation for the World Scout jamboree in 1955.

Kerr was known for several years on the North York planning board, and while at Humber College, had the opportunity to travel to St. Vincent in the Caribbean. There Kerr would meet deaf children in need of help and form the CHIS with other professionals and volunteers donating hearing aids and other resources to deaf children there.

The program was later expanded to 13 other Caribbean countries.

Kerr was a sailor, loving his years on Frangipani, his boat. He had many friends and will leave known for the numerous summer activities he and his wife hosted at their summer cottage in Innisfil, a long and productive woodworking hobby, and his impact on the lives of so many others.