November 11, 1928 - December 31, 2020
Lloyd Miller Kerr, 92, passed away peacefully in Dallas, TX on December 31, 2020. He will be remembered as a man of integrity, a loving husband, father, father-in-law, grandfather, and great-grandfather.
Lloyd is survived by his sweet wife of 70 years, Ruby Neal Kerr (Married: 3.3.55).
As a father, he took great pride in his three children and was determined that each should obtain a college degree. Oldest son Kerry Neal Kerr obtained a double degree from Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University), is now deceased. Son Kevin Miller Kerr graduated from the University of Texas at Austin and obtained a law degree from Bates College of Law in Houston. Kevin is married to Roycee Monk Kerr and lives in Wimberley, TX. Daughter Kristi Lois Kerr Leonard , who he called “sweet pea,” graduated from the University of Texas at Austin and obtained an international business master’s degree from the American School of International Business “Thunderbird” in Glendale, AZ and lives in Dallas, TX.
Life Story: Lloyd was born in Magness, Arkansas on November 11, 1928 to Lawrence Elvin “L.E.” Kerr (12.22.1909 – 4.2.1993) and Elsie Verna Miller Kerr Porter (1.13.1908 – 2.11.2001). His father sold their only car to pay the doctor for his first son’s birth. Soon after, the family moved to Dallas, so that L.E. could seek work during the Great Depression.
He began his scouting career at age 12 while in grade school at James Stephen Hogg elementary school in Boy Scout Troop 1 led by Scoutmaster Thomas Alan Hord. Since his father had been drafted and served in World War II, Lloyd was grateful for the male mentorship the scouts offered during that time. He took Red Cross Swimming and Life Saving for his merit badge and saved two young children from drowning at Lake Cliff. Lloyd bought a used Ford Model A and drove to work and school. That car would prove to be highly influential to his future.
After school hours, Lloyd worked in his parents’ businesses including Kerr’s Cliff Lanes and Barrett’s Dry Cleaning & Laundry in Oak Cliff. He also was a newspaper delivery boy for the Dallas Times Herald, Miniature Golf attendant, lifeguard at Lake Cliff. It was clear that as a young man, he had a knack for all things mechanical. This aptitude led to his various business ventures and also to getting lots of “Can you tell me how to . . . ?” calls from family members.
Lloyd graduated from Adamson High School in Oak Cliff in 1946 and was in the Reserve Officer Training Corps. He obtained a business degree from Southern Methodist University in February 1950. While at SMU, he swam on the Mustangs’ first swim team coached by legendary Coach Red Barr.
Lloyd was close to and helped care for his grandmother, Mary Angie Lee Hammond Miller (2.8.1884 – 11.14.1967) and his aunt, Mabel Irene Miller Nichols (8.25.1905 – 9.19.1997).
He married his sweetheart Ruby Mirl Neal (Born: 4.4.27) at Oak Cliff Christian Church on March 3, 1950. They met at the Kerr’s Cliff Lanes bowling alley when Ruby bowled several strikes and did not know how to add up the score.
During the Korean War, Lloyd enlisted in the US Army and served as a Corporal from April 15, 1952 to April 1954. He was assigned to the 821st Engineer Aviation, Battalion Company A which was attached to the U.S. Air Force. He spent one year overseas – at Dreux Air Base in France and at Hahn Air Base in Germany. He was in the Reserves until 1960. The 821st shipped out of Galveston, Texas, with a stop at Puerto Rico, and landed at LeHarve, France. The 821st was the first military unit to sail out of Galveston, TX since War World II. While Lloyd did not remember his complete list of medals, he received medals for the Korean War, Service for European Theatre, and Good Conduct. When asked what he most liked about being in the service, he said “I was proud to serve the United States of America.” He said, “the hardest part was being away from my new bride.” Fortunately, in March 1953, while he was stationed in France, Ruby and his mother Elsie visited Lloyd and were able to tour Paris.
Lloyd and Ruby had many successful businesses – custom home building, Kerr’s One Hour Martinizing Dry Cleaners, and the Bridal & Tuxedo Garden in Wynnewood Village Shopping Center, as well as three laundromats.
Lloyd was very active in his children’s schools and activities. He served as the first PTA president of John W. Carpenter Elementary in Dallas. Through Lloyd’s initiative and fundraising, the PTA planted the oak trees at the new school.
Lloyd returned to scouting in 1961 when his sons, Kerry and Kevin, reached scouting age. He helped form and served as the first cubmaster of the elementary school of Cub Scout Pack 786 at Carpenter. He was an assistant scout master for his sons’ Boy Scout Troop 125 at Oak Cliff Christian Church. Lifelong friend of the Kerr’s, Mr. Clyde Butler, said “As a leader in Troop 125, I witnessed the kindest man I have ever known. Even under the most aggravating situations, the worst I ever heard from him was a deep sigh.”
Lloyd and Ruby took their three children twice to scout leader training at Philmont Ranch, NM. He served as an assistant scout master for the Dallas Troop to The National Jamboree in Coeur d’Alene Idaho in 1969. He and his son Kevin and looked up at the moon through their tent door as Neil Armstrong landed on the moon in 1969. He also planned and led a Troop 125 summer camp trip to Big Bend National Park and a backpacking expedition to Philmont. Lloyd said “Scouting has been a large part of my growing up and raising a family of three. The values learned in the Boy Scouts of America have blessed this branch of the Kerr Family.” Later in life, Lloyd assisted his cubmaster daughter, Kristi, with his grandson, Killian’s pack #124 at Good Shepherd Episcopal School in Dallas.
Through the Oak Cliff Christian Church, he and his Boy Scout friends (Stuart Todd and Clyde Butler) raised money and built West Dallas Christian Center in one of the most underserved areas in Dallas.
Lloyd and Ruby added rooms on their Oak Cliff home and took in Ruby’s aunt and uncle, Lois Wynne and William Raymond Neal. Their Holliday Road home near lower Kiest Park was a special place for his family. His children and older grandchildren enjoyed many hours in Crow Creek behind the house exploring, building forts, and swinging on the rope swings. These memories and the family camping trips in the camper atop Lloyd’s Ford pick-up truck led to a lifelong love of nature for Kerr family.
In 1996 Lloyd and Ruby built and moved to their beautiful Mediterranean style home in Parker, TX. Lloyd was the contractor and did all the interior trim work himself. Always active church members, Lloyd and Ruby chose First Christian Church of Plano in their new home and were in the Seekers Class.
As he neared retirement, his mechanical inclinations and interest in history turned to restoring Ford Model A cars. For his 50th birthday, he brought home a rusty Model A frame and proceeded to restore it to pristine condition. He and Ruby were long-time members of the Dallas Model A Ford Club. He served as the president in 1983, received the Carl McClellan Award in 1989, and had the Dallas Model A Club Car of the Year in 1980, 1984, 1998, 2006. He restored approximately eleven cars and pick-ups.
He and Ruby also joined the Model A Touring Club. They packed the Model A cars in shipping containers and shipped them all over the world for their many adventures. In 2001 they drove their blue 1930 Tudor Model A Coupe (nicknamed “Sweet Pea” after his daughter Kristi) through Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Italy. In 2004 they went to Sidney, Australia, and drove 3,000 miles across the entire continent to Perth, Australia. In 2007, they drove Sweet Pea another 3,000 miles across Alaska. Fellow “Model A’ers” said they “were treated like royalty everywhere they went.”
Lloyd hosted many training and work sessions in his workshop at their home in Parker. He and Victor Duncan (of Victor Duncan Inc.) made instructional videos for other Model A enthusiasts. Lloyd starred as Mr. Good Brake in the film “How to Stop on a Dime and get Nine Cents Change.” He was also a Model A carburetor expert and rebuilt these for resale. He collected and restored Texas license plates dating from the turn of the century to the mid 1970s. His mother Elsie often said, “Lloyd talked about Henry Ford like they were brothers.” Lloyd taught his oldest two grandsons, Kason and Kolby, how to drive in the blue coupe.
Lloyd was known in his various communities as a person who was meticulous and precise on every project. His son Kevin remembers him saying, “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it again?”
Lloyd is survived by eight grandchildren:
He is also survived by his brother, Lynn Russell Kerr of Dallas and stepsister Debbie Elaine Hedges of Allen.
He was blessed with eleven great-grandchildren.
It can be said without hesitation that Lloyd was a person you could depend on, which is a rarity. He will be greatly missed by all those who knew him, learned from him, and loved him.
In light of the pandemic, the family will hold a private memorial for the immediate family. Lloyd’s remains will be interred in the columbarium at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery, at which time the family plans to have a public memorial service.
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