Rev. Dr. David A. Kerr, 79, passed away peacefully at York Hospital on Sunday, 11 August 2019, after an epic battle with Parkinson’s Disease, surrounded by the family that adored him.
Over the course of his 50-plus years of ministry, he often spoke of “the dash” representing the life lived between the date of our birth and the date of our death. He always encouraged his congregations to make sure they had few regrets about what they did with that dash.
David’s dash started with his birth on 14 June 1940 in Everett, Massachusetts, to Frederick B. and Emma Lily (North) Kerr. He attended public schools in Everett, eventually graduating from Everett High where he often performed the lead in school musicals. Knowing from an early age he wanted to become a Methodist minister, he proceeded to earn his associate’s degree from Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, Kentucky; his bachelor’s from Western Kentucky University, and his master’s from Union College in Barbourville, Kentucky. He also attended Vanderbilt University and received his doctor of ministry degree from Lexington Theological Seminary in 1972.
At Lindsey Wilson College he fell in love with a beautiful Southern belle named Faye Dean Wise and married her on 2 June 1961. They embarked together on a 58-year partnership of love, adventure and ministry.
This adventure led them to churches in Kentucky, Tennessee, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine. Over the years David touched the lives of thousands through his ministry, counseling, and much-treasured friendship. He presided over their joyous celebrations during weddings and baptisms, and guided them thru heartbreak during the loss of loved ones or rough times in general. On every occasion he brought his uniquely gentle warmth, sincerity, compassion and goofy humor.
He took part in overseas missions to the former Soviet Union, the Middle East, Nicaragua and Haiti over the years. He developed a strong commitment in particular to the non-profit organization Partners In Development, inspiring his entire family to do the same.
In 1992 he was recognized as Pro Portsmouth’s Citizen of the Year during the annual Market Street Day celebration, after serving as senior pastor at First United Methodist Church for ten years. He was greatly surprised to receive this award, since he was told he was only on stage to give the event’s opening prayer. Then the start time for the annual Market Square Day Road Race had to be delayed a few minutes while he ducked into a nearby food tent to change into his running shorts. The award recognized not only his efforts in the church but also service as a commissioner with the Portsmouth Housing Authority, his role in helping to start Cross Roads House, and other contributions.
Even after he “retired” in 2002, Dr. Dave continued to serve behind the pulpit as the occasion arose. For a time served as interim minister at the Church on the Cape in Maine, and he preached one Sunday every summer at Little Harbor Chapel in Portsmouth.
David enjoyed jogging, hiking, boating and travel, but nearly two decades ago he suffered the beginning of a series of physical setbacks eventually diagnosed as Parkinson’s Disease. He fought hard to keep the disease at bay, staving off the effects longer than most would have predicted and continuously astounding his doctors. His body suffered from repeated falls as he continued to push the limits of what he could do physically, but his spirit never wavered.
He was predeceased by both his parents and his beloved brother Donald Arthur Kerr. In addition to his loving wife Faye, he leaves behind sons D. Allan Kerr and wife Nicole of Kittery, Maine, and Mark Kerr and wife Robin of Kennebunk, Maine. His grandchildren are Shane, Cody, Maddie, Layla and Nolan Kerr; Zachary Benton and wife Ashleigh, and great-granddaughter Annabelle Benton. He also leaves a sister, Janice Flight, and his sister-in-law, Debbie Kerr, as well as brother-in-law Willis Wise Jr., and wife Karen.
Friends may visit from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, 15 August 2019, at Bibber Memorial Chapel, 67 Summer Street, Kennebunk ME. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday, 16 August 2019 at Church on the Cape, 3 Langsford Road, Cape Porpoise ME 04046. A private family internment will be held at First Parish Cemetery in York ME.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Church on the Cape at the address listed above, or to Partners In Development Inc., 174 High Street Suite 106, Ipswich MA 01938.
Arrangements are in care of Bibber Memorial Chapel, 67 Summer Street, Kennebunk, ME 04043.