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Obituary: Julia Jones Kerr, Waltham High Biology Teacher

Jones Kerr died Tuesday, March 4.

Julia Jones Kerr. Photo credit: Joyce Funeral Home
Julia Jones Kerr. Photo credit: Joyce Funeral Home

The following is from Joyce Funeral Home.

Mrs. Julia Jones Kerr, of Waltham, died Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at Lahey Clinic in Burlington. She was 85.

Julia was born in Charleston, W.Va., on Oct. 27, 1928, a daughter of the late Joseph R. and Lucy (Cash) Jones. After her mother's death, her father married MaeBelle (Arrington) Jones who helped to raise her and her brother, the late Joseph R.Jones Jr.

She was raised in Charleston where she graduated from Garnet High School. After that, she earned her Bachelor's degree from West Virginia State College in Institute, W.Va. It was at West Virginia State that Julia met her future husband, Chicago native Otho E.Kerr Jr. After graduation, the couple married and lived for a time in Chicago where Otho did post graduate studies at Northwestern University and later moved to Massachusetts where those studies were continued at MIT. They moved to Waltham in 1956 where they settled and raised their family. Otho and Julia were married 61 years until Otho's death on Nov. 7, 2011.

After the move to Waltham, Julia became deeply involved with the community. During the 1950s, she and her husband were active with the Fair Housing movement. She was formerly a member of First Baptist Church in Waltham and had been a member of Christ Church Episcopal for more than 30 years.

Professionally Julia was a well-known and much loved biology teacher at Waltham High School. Before that, she taught science classes at North Junior High School and at the Whittemore Elementary School. Julia was the embodiment of the old adage: A good teacher is like a candle - it consumes itself to light the way for others.

She was a life member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and Jack and Jill of America, Inc. During her kids growing years, she found time to be a Cub Scout leader and had been a longtime member of the Plympton School PTA. She also belonged to the Waltham College Club, the Piety Corner Club, the Waltham Historical Commission and the Massachusetts Audubon Society.

At home, Julia loved her garden and birding. A lifelong learner, she also developed a talent for photography, knitting and water-color painting. She was also an avid bridge player.

She leaves her children, Mary E. Kerr of Waltham, Otho E. Kerr III and Gregory E. Kerr, both of New York City.

Family and friends will honor and remember Julia's life by gathering for calling hours in The Joyce Funeral Home, 245 Main St. (Route 20), Waltham, on Friday, March 7, from 4-8 p.m. and again on Saturday morning in Christ Church, 750 Main St., Waltham, where her funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. The Rev. Sara H. Irwin will officiate. Burial will be in Newton Cemetery.

Memorial donations may be made to Christ Church, 750 Main St., Waltham, MA 02451 or to the Julia J. Kerr Scholarship Fund, c/o Gregory DeMeo, Waltham High School, 617 Lexington St., Waltham, MA 02452.

Susan Burke Jeffery March 05, 2014 at 11:41 AM
She was an awesome teacher and person, RIP Mrs. Kerr.....
JohnnyMass March 05, 2014 at 11:20 PM
A great teacher who taught a very interesting 7th grade science class at the Whittemore School. She was very proud of her track-star sons!
Elizabeth LaRose March 06, 2014 at 10:35 PM
Mrs. Kerr was my homeroom, and my favorite teacher. She had such a love and passion for teaching. She made Biology interesting and fun. She leaves an amazing legacy in her community as well as her deeply grateful students, whose lives have been enriched by her commitment to teaching to strive for excellence. My condolences to her family. May she rest in eternal paradise. As she would say to us "job well done".

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