Barbara Baird Kerr

[ Age 75 ] Homemaker used humor in raising her 10 children.

August 26, 2007|By Madison Park | Madison Park,Sun reporter

Barbara Baird Kerr, a homemaker who raised 10 children, died of congestive heart failure in her Stoney Beach home Thursday. She was 75.

Born in Chicago, Barbara Baird moved with her family to Baltimore when she was 8 years old. In 1950, she graduated from Seton High School.

At St. Joseph College in Emmitsburg, she studied biology and met her future husband, Richard Nevin Kerr, during her freshmen year.

After graduating from college in 1954, she married Mr. Kerr in Baltimore. The newlyweds lived in Washington for nine months, while Mr. Kerr worked as an Army courier and Mrs. Kerr worked in a lab at what was then known as Walter Reed General Hospital.

The next year, the Kerrs moved to Baltimore and eventually settled in Ellicott City in 1966.

Mr. Kerr was a Baltimore attorney and Mrs. Kerr stayed at home with their 10 children.

"I'm sure we drove her crazy more times than she cares to remember," said Tim Kerr of Baltimore, her eighth child. "The house always had stuff lying around. Getting ready to go to school in the morning was like an Army drill. She would lay a row of bread and top them with peanut butter and jelly, put them in the lunch bags and send us off to school."

Described as a playful mother who enjoyed practical jokes, Mrs. Kerr would snap photos of the family dog with a cigarette and beer can in his paws. On St. Patrick's Day, she dyed the children's milk green. During Preakness, she had all the kids vote for their favorite horse.

When Mrs. Kerr saw one of her children walking in the neighborhood, she would pull over and tell them to get in the car. As soon as they got near the car, she would pull away, laughing, said her son, Tim Kerr. She would do it two or three more times before finally letting them in the car.

When her children grew older, she delivered packages and letters for the Courier Group.

In 1997, the Kerrs moved to Stoney Beach. Sitting on a waterside deck with a telescope, Mrs. Kerr would watch ships pull into the harbor and record the day and time of arrival in her journal.

Mrs. Kerr died surrounded by her husband and all of her children, Tim Kerr said.

A service will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Church of the Resurrection in Ellicott City.

Besides her husband and son, she is survived by five daughters, Frances Kerr of Catonsville, Anne Kerr of Stoney Beach, Kathleen Bayhan of Westminster, Mary Kerr Berger of New York City and Susan Ross of Towson; four other sons, Gerald Kerr of Seven Valleys, Pa., William Kerr and Richard Kerr Jr., both of Catonsville, and John Kerr of Baltimore; a sister, Frances Boyd of Silver Spring; and 10 grandchildren.

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