Shirley Jean Kerr, 82 of Rural Hall, NC passed away May 14, 2019, after fighting a remarkable six year battle with stage IV lung cancer. She was born to the late Rebecca and J. Glen Varnes, April 27, 1937 in Lewistown, Pa. Shirley was raised in Mifflintown, Pa. as the youngest of six children, graduated from Juniata Joint High School and received her nursing degree from the Harrisburg Polyclinic Hospital School of Nursing. Afterwards, she married her life-long sweetheart from the age of 9, the boy-next-door on October 4, 1958 at the Messiah Lutheran Church of Mifflintown. They lived and raised six children in Florida for 45 years before relocating to Rural Hall.
Shirley is survived by her husband, John F. Kerr, and sister Jane White of East Waterford, PA, sisters-in-law Romaine and Louise Varnes, her four sons and daughters-in-law, Gregory and Kim Kerr of Vero Beach, Fl, Douglas and Dawn Kerr of Vero Beach, FL, Phillip and Jennifer Kerr of Rural Hall, NC, Jeffrey Kerr and daughter and husband, Candace and Lester Bracy. She was also blessed with many surviving grandchildren and their spouses, April and Richard Dericks, Daniel and Caitlin Dillard, Brian Kerr, Zachary and Brandi Kerr, Isaac and Gabby Kerr, Mariah and Skylar Beverage, Andrew Kerr, Alexandria and Alexander Cartrette, Alexander Bracy, Christopher Bracy, and Phillip Bracy. Her most precious joys in later years was the addition of her great grandchildren, Theodore Cartrette and Charlotte Kerr. She was preceded in death by her daughter, Crystal Dillard Kerr in August 2018, her sister Dorothy and brothers Donald, Ted, and Roland Varnes and brother-in-law Raymond White.
Shirley was an accomplished registered nurse, who never stopped learning and teaching other nurses and doctors about medicine and the human condition, both physical and spiritual. She was an inspiring role model, one of the first girls to play tuba in her high school marching band and while many other mothers during this time period stayed home, Shirley worked full-time at night and raised their six children by day. Her love and compassion for others was reflected in her nursing and demonstrated by numerous gifts she kept with her throughout the years from her patients.
Shirley was married to her husband of 60 years and life-long partner for over 70 years. She adored her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren whom she showered with love, advice with the utmost honesty, and her tremendous gifts of quilting, embroidery, crocheting, and numerous other crafts. Shirley also loved to cook and bake for the masses and was known as the “Neighborhood Mom” lending her unending support and love for her children to their friends and neighbors with an open-door policy. While her compassion, guidance and commitment to this life will be missed, her laughter, wit and inspiration will continue to live-on in everyone she touched.
Celebration of her life will be held on Saturday, May 25, 2019 at 11 a.m. at Hayworth-Miller Funeral Home in Rural Hall, NC. Shirley will be laid to rest at a later date at Westminster Presbyterian Cemetery in Mifflintown, Pa. The family requests that donations can be made in support of lung or ovarian cancer research, in lieu of sending flowers.