Dorothy B. Kerr, United Fund of Cambridge founding member, dies

She was an advocate for the elderly

  • Dorothy Kerr
Dorothy Kerr
March 14, 2011|By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun

Dorothy B. Kerr, a founding member and longtime executive secretary of the United Fund of Cambridge and later director of a nursing facility, died March 4 of dementia at a Cambridge nursing home. She was 92.

Dorothy May Bell was born in Baltimore and raised on Augusta Avenue in Irvington. She was a 1936 graduate of Western High School and Strayer's Business College.

She worked for the old Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co. in various managerial positions until leaving in 1944 to become a dental hygienist.

She married Joseph Cornelius Kerr, a neighborhood friend from Irvington, in 1943. He died in 1996.

"Being an only child, Dottie was taken with his large Catholic family and their spirit," said a daughter, Katherine "Katie" Kerr of Cambridge. "She converted to Catholicism with dreams of raising her children in the Catholic faith and having a large family of her own."

In 1955, the couple and their children moved to Cambridge, when Mr. Kerr took over as manager of two Eastern Shore automobile dealerships.

Mrs. Kerr became an active volunteer with the 4-H Club and became a Brownie and Cub Scout leader. In 1959, she helped establish the United Fund of Cambridge and served as its executive secretary until 1974.

From 1974 until retiring in 1986, Mrs. Kerr was the director of Frederick Villa Nursing Center in Catonsville, and she worked to have wheelchair ramps installed in theaters and stadiums to give the elderly greater access to facilities.

Mrs. Kerr returned to Cambridge in 1999 where she lived until her death.

She enjoyed spending time at the Atlantic Ocean and on the Choptank River. She liked reading and listening to music.

"Dottie Bell left a legacy of gentleness, kindness and much love to those who were blessed to know her," said her daughter. "She lived by the motto: 'It is better to give than to receive.' She was so very gracious to all."

She was a communicant of St. Mary Refuge of Sinners Roman Catholic Church, Glasgow Street and Hambrooks Boulevard, Cambridge, where a Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Also surviving are two sons, Michael Kerr of Wilmington, Del., and Patrick Kerr of Middle River; another daughter, Cookie Kerr deBettencourt of Timonium; eight grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.

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