Dorothy May Bell Kerr, age 92, of Cambridge, MD, died surrounded by her family on Friday, March 4, 2011.
Born on August 30, 1918 in Baltimore, Maryland she was the daughter of the late Magdalena Catherine Wehrle Bell. Her biological father was the late Milton Gordon Bell, who left the family when she was only four years old. She was raised by her dear mother and her beloved German grandmother Magdalena Wehrle.
Dottie, as she was known, attended Western High School where she excelled in sports and was a prize English student.
After graduation from Strayer Business College, she worked for the Bell System presently known as AT&T. While working there she held various managerial positions. She was also very instrumental in organizing benefits for women employees.
In 1943 she married Joseph Cornelius Kerr, of Irvington, who had been a neighborhood friend for many years. Being an only child, Dottie was taken with his large Catholic family and their spirit. She converted into this Catholic religion with dreams of raising her children in the Catholic faith and having a large family of her own.
Their loving union gave them the large family she had wished. They had four children Michael Kerr of Wilmington, NC, Katherine Kerr of Cambridge, MD, Patrick Kerr and his wife Linda of Middle River, MD and Cookie Kerr deBettencourt of Timonium, MD. She is also survived by her cherished grandchildren and great-grandchildren Bruce McGonnigal and his wife Tina and their children Madison, Joseph, Henry Kerr and Georgina McGonnigal; Brett McGonnigal and his daughter Emma McGonnigal; Katherine Brigid Peterson and her husband Joseph and their children Brooks and Colin Peterson; Corbitt Kerr and his wife Liz and their son Joseph Kerr; Alexis Kerr Grumbine and her husband Lawson; Ashley Kerr and her fiance Eugene Miles; Brendan and Kevin deBettencourt.
The Kerr family moved to Cambridge in 1955 when Mr. Kerr was offered a position of managing two Eastern Shore dealerships in Cambridge and Salisbury. While being rooted in Cambridge, Dottie was very active in the lives of her children. She had been a 4H, Girl Scout, Brownie and Cub Scout leader. Dottie entertained friends of her children for many parties and always had a welcome home for them. She really enjoyed a house full of laughter and children.
Professionally, she helped to develop the United Way of Cambridge in 1959 where she held the position of Executive Secretary until 1974 when the family moved back to Baltimore. There Dottie worked as the Activities Director for Frederick Villa from 1974 until she retired in 1986. She was known throughout the community for aggressively sponsoring many activities and trips to stadiums and theatres for the patients. She worked with these venues to install wheelchair ramps and other access for seniors to enjoy what they otherwise would not have been able to. She was highly regarded and loved for her kind efforts for everyone, especially the elderly.
Mrs. Kerr returned to her home of Cambridge in 1999 where she chose to live out her life.
Her children were her passion, but she had a great love for the Choptank River and the Atlantic Ocean. She often spoke of summers during the war and the blackouts on the beach in Ocean City. She loved poetry and always read it to her children and grandchildren. She was an avid reader and loved listening to music. She was a romantic at heart and loved looking at the cloud formations and finding shapes to make real. She loved to say that she could see the woman in the moon as well as the man.
Dottie Bell Kerr left a legacy of gentleness, kindness and much love to those who were blessed to know her. She lived by the motto “It is better to give than to receive”. She was so very gracious to all.
Mrs. Kerr was cremated. Her Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, March 16th at St. Mary, Refuge of Sinners Catholic Church, Glasgow Street and Hambrooks Blvd., Cambridge. The family will receive friends a half hour prior to the Mass. Celebrant of the Mass will be The Rev. William J. Lawler, Rector. A brief reception will be held at the Minnette Dick Church Hall and inurnment will follow at 2:00 p.m. at the Eastern Shore Veterans Cemetery, Hurlock, MD.
Memorial offerings may be made the United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore, 801 N. Salisbury Blvd, Suite 202, Salisbury, MD 21801 or their website www.unitedway4us.org
Arrangements are entrusted to Curran-Bromwell Funeral Home, P.A., Cambridge, MD. To send online condolences, please visit www.curran-bromwell.com
Mass of Christian Burial
10:30 ,Wednesday, March 16, 2011
St. Mary Refuge of Sinners Catholic Church
1515 Glasgow Street Cambridge, MD 21613
Notes: Visitation half hour prior to Mass. Brief reception at Church Hall then inunment at 2 p.m. at Eastern Shore Veterans Cemetery. Florists ~ please deliver floral tributes to funeral home on Tuesday or deliver to the church Wednesday morning by 9:30 a.m. It is encouranged by the family to have flowers consisting of the colors pink and white ~ Thank you.