DONALD LORNE KERR
June 14, 1938 - January 20, 2022
It is with heavy hearts we announce the passing of Donald Lorne Kerr, age 83, at Pinecrest Home on Thursday, January 20, 2022.
Don was born at St. Joseph’s hospital in Kenora, Ontario in June 1938. He was the second eldest child born to Bertha and Bill Kerr. Donnie was raised on Pine Portage Road and lived in 4 different homes at “Kerr corner” his entire life before entering Pinecrest home in 2017.
Growing up with 6 siblings, and the golf course as their playground, Donnie and the neighbourhood gang got up to all kinds of fun and pranks. Donnie was always a builder and would construct slides, forts, and any means of recreation and entertainment for himself and the kids. He could often be found at the rink either playing or watching hockey. Always a joker and prankster, when he was a boy attending Mount Carmel school, he got into trouble with the nuns for sneaking up to ring the church bells.
Donnie completed Grade 9 then decided school wasn’t for him. Formal education aside, Donnie was an avid learner his entire life – always studying books and encyclopedias, reading National Geographic, studying maps, and watching documentaries. He could carry on a conversation with people from all walks of life and about almost any topic.
Donnie started working as a youngster, selling newspapers downtown. He was a good saver and would “loan shark” to friends and family. He had many jobs as a young person, and also worked for the family business – Kerr & Sons with Husky Oil - delivering fuel oil.
Despite no formal education or training, Donnie built himself two homes and worked on constructing many houses for friends and family. He was naturally gifted, a jack-of-all-trades, and could build or fix anything, except cars. He was a unique and independent person, a maverick, and he said his Mother told him, “When they made you Donnie, they broke the mold.”
Most of Don’s work life involved driving. He drove tractor trailer for Motorways and Lakehead Freightways, was a flat-bed driver & heavy equipment operator for Towland Construction, Ted King, Ed Cederwall, & Bob Emlyn, and like four of his siblings, ended his career with a 10-year stint driving school bus for Excel Coach Lines.
He loved kids – both on the bus, in the family, and in the neighbourhood. He would throw “popcorn parties” and light firecrackers to entertain them, and would tease and joke with them every chance he got, and often teach them colourful language. Some of the kids would come to the door and ask if Donnie could come out to play.
Don, our Dad, had a crazy sense of humour and liked to hang around and party with his kids and their friends, particularly Don Jr.’s. Amongst them he became affectionately known as “Dada” - a name that stuck for the rest of his life!
Dad loved country music – especially Hank Williams and George Jones. He would play his records over and over until us kids were begging him to turn it off – but we still know all the songs by heart. He never learned to play an instrument but on a whim one Saturday afternoon went down to Eaton’s and purchased a piano so his buddy Hessie Cox could play it for him. Hessie would alternate playing guitar and piano, and Dad joined in on the “gut bucket.”
Dad enjoyed the great outdoors. He enjoyed many a fishing trip to Wonderland Lake with his brother David, cousin Jimmy Spencer, and the gang, where, often, no good arose - except fun times. One winter at Wilson’s camp Don and some others were snow machining. Instead of the traditional winter gear, he wore his overcoat and fedora. Ed Wilson remarked, “All I could see were 3 polar bears and a dude!”
Dad always prided himself on dressing stylishly and adorned an overcoat and fedora when most men did not wear a hat. He loved his leather and gold jewelry in his middle years, and got compliments on his “Mr. T starter kit.”
Dad loved his home and yard, and spending time there with his family. He was always working on home projects – inside or out, building shelves or sheds, painting, constructing a bar, finishing his basement. His yard was immaculately attended to, doing his own landscaping and planting trees and hedges.
Dad liked to travel. In his younger years, he would take off in a whim and head to the west coast, or to the Eastern townships of Quebec to see his Kerr Aunties and Uncles. He was also fortunate enough to travel outside of Canada, he & Bonnie visiting Hawaii, Cuba, and a cruise through the Panama Canal. Don also made several trips to Mexico with his kids and his friends, living it up Mexican style.
In his later years, Dad struggled with his disabilities but with his fierce independence and strong will, he never gave up on living his life the best he could. The staff at Pinecrest could always be heard joking around with him, and they enjoyed lots of laughter and good chats.
With his infectious grin, and great sense of humour, Dad was cherished by friends and family alike and will be greatly missed. He always said he was spoiled by his Spencer Aunties and enjoyed many family picnics at Linklater, Willard, and Gordon Lakes with his Spencer Aunts and Uncles and 60 first cousins!
Donnie was predeceased by parents Bill and Bertha, siblings: little brother Roderick, Vivian, David, and Billy; first wife Betty Forrester, son-in-law Greg Audley, sisters-in law Audrey and Margie, and brother-in-law Lyle Anderson.
He will be fondly remembered and deeply missed by his family. He is survived by his children Donald Jr. (Ann), Roberta, Amanda & husband Frank, former spouse Bonnie, grandchildren Megan, Abby, Cory, Launa, Stephen, Kya, and great grandchildren Addyson & Kash, Kenzie, Hannah & Logan, Frankie & Avery. Don is also survived by his sister Roberta, brother Robbin, sisters-in-law Linda and Pauline, nieces Diane, Shelley, Krissy, Leanne, Lori, Stacy, nephews Billy and Bradley, and many first cousins.
Our family would like to thank all Dad’s caregivers and staff at Pinecrest Home for providing him great care and compassion these past 5 years.
A Celebration of Life for Donnie will take place at a later date.
Kindly share your fond memories and expressions of sympathy.
Contact information for the family is:
14 Windlass Bay
Winnipeg MB R3X 1L3
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