Obituary — Harriet Mae Kerr
Memorial services and a Mass of Celebration will take place Sept. 6 for Harriet Mae Kerr, who died Aug. 14, 2003, in her home on Upper Kingsbury Grade, following a battle with lymphoma. She was 88.
Harriet Mae Kay was born July 22, 1915, at McCormick, Wash., to an Irish mother, Mary Ellen (Evans) Kay, and a German/Polish father, Franic Kay. She graduated from Centrala High School in Washington in 1935, when she was admitted to State College of Washington. When she married Daniel K. Kerr March 3, 1937, at San Diego, Calif., she received the first dispensation for a mixed marriage (between a Catholic and a Lutheran) given by Bishop Charles Francis Buddy of San Diego. When World War II started Dec. 7, 1941, her husband’s duty station was Panama Canal Zone, where she and her son, Daniel L. Kerr, had joined him on Dec. 1.
In the 1950s Mrs. Kerr served as president of the Austin Guide, when her son attended St. Augustine High School in San Diego. In the early 1960s she was a member of Mercy Hospital Auxiliary and was in charge of their newsletter. Also in 1960 she was president of the Alcola Guide at University of San Diego College for Men. She was responsible for getting Regis Philbin to be master of ceremonies for a fashion show when she was with KFMB TV in San Diego.
Mrs. Kerr came to South Lake Tahoe in April 1962, where she and her husband were partners in the Tahoe Driftwood Lodge, Four Seasons Motel and the Calvarado Motel in the Stateline area. She had been a resident of Upper Kingsbury since 1966, where her home overlooked Lake Tahoe. After moving to Lake Tahoe she asked, “Where’s the hospital?” Finding none existed led to her joining the Barton Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, where she was a member for 40 years. She served as auxiliary president in 1968 and 1969. She and her best friend, Irene Knudson, put on the annual Antique Show from 1977 to 1987, making more than $100,000 for the auxiliary. She also worked the Community Blood Drive with her close friend, Pat Amundson, for 35 years and was always there for the 27 annual Holiday Faires. She was a five-time chair of the Barton Hospital Board, where she served for 30 years before retiring in 1997. She also was a charter member of the Barton Memorial Hospital Foundation.
Mrs. Kerr was the first woman president of the South Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce, when PSA and Air Cal came to the lake. She was a 12-year member of the Visitors Bureau, 1966-1978; served as a director of the California State Motel Association, 1980-1983; was appointed Douglas County Commissioner to the Douglas County Planning Commission, where she served 1979-1987; and was a 20-year member of the Douglas County Republican Central Committee.
She received the Soroptimist International of South Lake Tahoe Women of Achievement Award in 1973, and was made an honorary member of the service club. In 1980 she was named Citizen of the Year by the Tahoe-Douglas Chamber of Commerce.
Mrs. Kerr attended Our Lady of Tahoe Catholic Church for more than 30 years and was proud to be an active member and supporter. She loved to travel with her husband, friends and son. She enjoyed European river cruises including the Rhine, Siene and Danube. Her son says that she was “Queen of the Rhine” in another life.
She is survived by her son, Daniel L. Kerr of Upper Kingsbury; grandchildren, Glenn, Ronald, Todd and Theresa; and four great-grandchildren, who all live out of the area; nephew and his wife, Joseph and Pamela Wicker of San Jose, Calif., who were dear to her; and a host of relatives and dear friends in Washington. She was predeceased by her husband of 41 years, Daniel K. Kerr, in 1978; and sister, Frances M. Wicker, in 1991.
Memorial services and a Mass of Celebration will begin at 11 a.m. Sept. 6 at Our Lady of Tahoe Catholic Church, West Elks Point Road in Round Hill, Zephyr Cove, Nev. She will be buried next to her husband at Happy Homestead Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers donations in Mrs. Kerr’s memory may be made to Barton Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, P.O. Box 7111, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150 or Our Lady of Tahoe Catholic Church, Pieta/Altar Fund, P.O. Box 115, Zephyr Cove, NV 89448.
Arrangements are by McFarlane Mortuary.