WAXHAW, N.C. -- James Spratt (Joe) Kerr, Union County farmer, died Monday, Sept. 10, 2007, at the age of 99. He was preceded in death by his wife, Virginia Williams Kerr, and parents, William Jefferson Kerr and Eva White Kerr.
Mr. Kerr began his farming career at the age of 18 on the same farm on which he was born. He loved the land and all the things it supported and gave back to him.
Each season brought about new duties for Mr. Kerr and the farm hands, from the planting of acres of cotton, corn and soybeans, to the caring of the cattle and hogs. Even though the farm sheds were full of tractors, combines, cotton pickers and farm trucks, Joe Kerr would often ride his favorite mare, Queen, across the fields and through the pastures checking on the things that filled his life. If Miss Ginny asked, "Is that a new cotton picker in the shed?" Joe would reply, "Oh no, it's been out there a long time." Maybe, three weeks.
Joe Kerr will be remembered as a caring, sharing neighbor, father and friend. An excellent gardener, he derived much pleasure in sharing the bounties of his harvest. Another long-time interest was the curing of country hams and making sausage in the smokehouse behind his home.
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Mr. Joe loved to tell a good story -- usually one that highlighted his keen sense of humor. He was a master of the practical joke. He and Don (son) were known to have placed cement blocks under the cars of his daughter's dates so when it was time to leave, their cars would not move. After a period of time, he'd come outside to see what was causing the noise, help the young man "discover" the trick and then feign disbelief that anyone could play such a trick on such a nice young man. And to his son's and grandson's dates he at times commented, "You're not the same girl I saw him with last week."
Knowing Joe Kerr was like taking a trip back in time ... a time when mules took the place of tractors; a time when a loan from the bank was sealed and guaranteed by the shake of a hand; a time when the most important social event for his children was attending Sunday night MYF at Harrison United Methodist Church. It was a wonderful time -- a simple time.
For those of us who have been fortunate enough to have known this man, have been blessed. He brought us joy. He showed us generosity. He was a example of honesty and integrity. His passing brings to an end an era that some of us will cherish and most will never know. We can now close the book on a man who was always proud to be a Union County farmer.
Mr. Kerr is survived by son, James Donald Kerr, daughter, Paulette Kerr, grandson, James Maxwell Kerr and his wife, Dana, and great grandson, Williams McCain Kerr. Niece, Emma Lou Kerr Fletcher, nephews, Herbert "Bub" Kerr, Bill Kerr and Jack Kerr. Nieces, Peggy Glascock, Martha Adkins, Carolyn Matthews, Mary Ann Williams, nephews, Edward Jackson, Gene Jackson and Ryan Hovis.
The family is deeply grateful to the wonderful nurses and caregivers who cared for Mr. Joe during his special time at home. A special thanks to Dena Joyner, Alice Lee, and Carol Attenhofer.
Services will be held at Banks Presbyterian Church, 10012 New Town Road, Marvin, NC 28173, on Friday, Sept. 14, 2007, at 11 a.m. Visitation will be at the church fellowship hall following the service. Burial will be at Harrison United Methodist Church, 15008 Lancaster Highway, Pineville, NC 28134, following visitation. The family requests memorials be made to Banks Presbyterian Church, Marvin, N.C., or Harrison United Methodist Church, Pineville, N.C. Pallbearers for Mr. Kerr will be Bub Kerr, Bill Gene Kerr, Jack Kerr, James Kerr, Todd Isaacs and Jim Hood.
McEwen Funeral Home and Cremation Service of Monroe is caring for the family of Mr. Kerr.