William Angus Kerr (Bill), 86, of Methow, passed away peacefully May 26, 2018, at Central Washington Hospital in Wenatchee. Bill was born on Nov. 14, 1931, in Oban, Scotland, to Alexander and Mary (Polly) Kerr. He was the middle of three children, older brother Donald and younger sister Helen. Bill attended St. Columbas Primary School and graduated in 1950 with honors from Oban High School. Bill was very athletic, participating in football (soccer), and playing on a nationally competitive shinty team.
Bill then served in the British Army for two years. In 1953, with the bleak employment situation in Scotland, Bill immigrated to Washington state to work for his uncle Angus MacKinnon at his apple ranch on McFarland Creek, in the Methow Valley. Bill was adopted by several families — the Skylstads, the Danzls, the Stennes and Nordangs. If the ranch work was done, these families kept Bill busy and out of trouble. Sixty-five years of adventures, laughs and discussions were enjoyed with Art Nordang.
It was on McFarland Creek that he met his future bride and Canadian, Catherine Ann Ritchie, who was visiting the MacKinnons. On July 26, 1962, he married Cathe in London, Ontario, Canada. The Couple made their home at McFarland Creek. Four children, Alex, Neil, Sheila and Angus, graced their marriage. After the orchard froze out in 1968, Bill worked for Bert Stennes at his apple warehouse on Squaw Creek in the winters. In 1970, Bill applied for and was hired by Northwest Wholesale Inc. to manage the Brewster branch. He grew the branch by serving the local orchardists and warehouse operators for 25 years.
Many lower Methow students (the four of us included) caught rides home from the Pateros school in the brown Chevy pickup from sports practices. With the family and help from the Armstrong family, Bill replanted a smaller orchard. We all learned the value of hard work through the orchard. Including hoeing the trees, sprinkler changing (twice a day!), thinning, propping, mowing, finally picking and hauling the crop in the pickup and later the old red two-ton GMC to the Squaw Creek Ranch shed.
Bill was a lifetime student, becoming fluent in Spanish, and proficient in French and Russian. Bill began running road races in his 50s, running up to 35 miles a week for training. With Cathe as his No. 1 fan and co-pilot, Bill traveled all over as far away as Scotland competing in community festival runs collecting blue ribbons and cups. Among his many running accomplishments is completing the Montreal Marathon in 1995 while on vacation with Cathe. Bill’s final race at age 81 was the Spokane Lilac Bloomsday run, where he collected his fourth first-place medal in his age group!
Bill was a practicing Roman Catholic who started as an altar boy in the cathedral in Oban then moved to the choir as he loved to sing. Bill sang in choirs of the Brewster and Twisp Catholic Church parishes.
We would like to thank the village of caregivers who made it possible to have our father at home the past five years, most especially Sheila, Neil and Angus. The other members of the village include Becky Bennett, Willie Guffey, Anisa Oros, Julie Johnson and Edna Covey. The family would like to thank the staff of North Central Hospital for their outstanding compassionate care for dad. Bill was preceded in death by his parents, brother Donald, and wife Cathe of 38 years. He is survived by his four children, Alex of Methow, Neil of Spokane, Sheila of Methow and Angus of East Wenatchee; sister Helen Menzies (Robert) of Oban; and numerous nieces, nephews, and extended family in Scotland, Canada and Washington.
A funeral will be held on Friday (June 29) at 11 a.m. at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 214 S. Fifth St., in Brewster, with Rev. Bishop Emeritus William Skystad officiating. A private inurnment will follow at a later date. A potluck and slide show will follow the funeral at the parish hall. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Methow (the town of) Community Club — care of R. Tonseth, P.O. Box 476, Methow WA 98834; or to a charity of your choice.
Please express your thoughts and memories on our online guestbook at jonesjonesbetts.com Arrangements are by Jones & Jones — Betts Funeral Home.