The loss of a truly great man was felt by many when Roger Allen Kerr passed away of lung cancer on Monday, July 21st at 6pm in Salem, Oregon. Roger left this world much the way he lived it, surrounded by family, centered in his devout Catholic faith, and with just a hint of mischief in his eye.
Born in Portland, Oregon January 16, 1934 to Ray and Catherine Kerr, Roger grew up on the family farm in St. Paul along with his two sisters, Charlene and Rosalie. His childhood was filled with adventure, hard work, rodeos, and time with family and friends on the farm.
If you asked Roger, his life didn’t really begin until the fall of 1956, when he met the love of his life, Lynne, a beautiful young lady from Palm Beach, Florida who fell in love with the successful farmer from Oregon. After a whirlwind romance and three-month engagement, they married in Spain, where Roger was stationed as a lieutenant in the Air Force. They later settled back in Salem, Oregon, to run the family hop farm.
Never one to do something halfway, Roger excelled in everything he put his mind to. He farmed with his whole heart, serving on many industry commissions and boards, including appointment to the first Oregon Hop Commission, formed in 1964. As if his ample farming career was not enough, Roger also opened one of the first computer and software stores in Salem, specializing in mulit-user technologies and pioneering software implementation in the agricultural field.
Roger dove head first into his many passions and pursuits. An avid golfer, he won the title of club champion in both the senior and regular divisions at McNary Golf Course in 1995. A talented tennis player, he competed on a senior team that qualified for nationals in 2007. Roger also collected and restored classic cars, flew radio-controlled airplanes, and rode motorcycles. He was forever discovering new interests and continually surprising family and friends with not only his many talents, but his incredible humility despite his accomplishments.
Roger’s deep Catholic faith was always at the center of his life. He served on the pastoral council at St. Edwards Catholic Church, was a member of the Knights of Columbus, served as a Eucharistic minister, one of the founders of the St. Edwards folk group, gave his time on the board of Catholic Charities, lead weekly Catechism and bible studies, and constantly provided a shining example to both family and friends of what it meant to be a Catholic.
Of all Roger’s many achievements, family was his greatest. Upon getting married, he and Lynne quickly filled their home with children; finally deciding their family was large enough when the total count hit 7 kids, Mike Kerr (Sandy), Kathy Hauge (Brian), Patty Kerr, Andy Kerr (Beth), James Kerr (Donna), Mary Billadeau (Travis), and Bill Delema. The family grew, and continues to do so, with nineteen grandchildren and five great grandchildren.
Roger Kerr will always be remembered as a great man, loving husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, devout Catholic, community servant, hop farmer and friend. He lived his life with strong convictions, generosity, love, humility and passion for family and his faith. His memory will live on in the lives of those he touched.
A rosary will be held at 9:45am on Tuesday, July 29th at St. Edwards Catholic Church in Keizer, Oregon, followed by a funeral mass celebration at 10:30am. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that Roger’s memory be honored with donations to the Saint Edwards Catholic Church Building Fund or Willamette Valley Hospice in his name.