In 2009, Kerr traveled to California to compete in the National Senior Games. Then at the age of 85, she not only gave it her best effort, but she won a gold medal in the 100-meter freestyle and a silver medal in the 50-meter freestyle.
She’ll return to the National Senior Games again next week, again in search of those difficult-to-win medals.
To win a gold and silver medal is impressive, but what is much more impressive is the fact that Kerr is legally blind. When she was in first grade, she was in an auto accident which injured her eye. Later in life ,she was diagnosed with macular degenerative disease in her eyes which played a role the loss of much of her eyesight.
For many, this would have been a major setback, but not Kerr. Tossing aside a woe-as-me attitude, she chose, instead, to do as she always does, put her faith in God and focus on the positive.
Her husband of 65 years Burke, a Presbyterian minister, then began to take extra care of his wife. They both were inseparable, always doing things together, entertaining the residents of nursing homes. Burke would play the drums and Barbara would play the piano or the keyboard.
She really didn’t want to complete in the N.C. Senior games since, at the time, Burke was sick, but her children helped change her mind. So last September, she traveled to Cary and once again came away with two gold medals. Upon her return home, Burke had two golden chrysanthemums on the front porch.
They had a wonderful relationship and marriage
In February, Burke Kerr passed away. His death was a tremendous loss to Barbara and to those who knew him, but once again, pulling herself up, she focused on her blessings in her life.
She continues to use the talents the good Lord gave her to entertain at the nursing homes, playing in the 76er’s Band which she has been a member of for over 10 years. And she’s continuing her life, always focused on what’s ahead and what God has in store.
She arises every morning at 6 a.m., and promptly at 8:15 a.m. she catches the county bus to the Center for Health and Wellness in Clinton. While there, she swims and exercises for over an hour and then catches the bus back home around 10 a.m.
Micki Cottle, a dear friend of Barbara’s, said she is a joy to everyone who knows her and she’s very proud to call her a friend.
During a recent interview, several of Barbara Kerr’s friends offered comments about someone they say they cherish and admire. Emily Lepley, Kattie, Stafford, Peggy Wiggs, and Grace Bryant all chimed in by saying she’s a wonderful lady who is friendly to everyone she encounters and a inspiration all those she comes in contact with each day.
They will be cheering from home next week, as Barbara embarks on the national competition, one she was a bit hesitant to participate in.
After winning two gold medals, it once again gave Barbara the opportunity to compete in the National Senior games, and once again she was a bit apprehensive about going, but her friends and family stood behind her and finally talked her into going.
The National Senior Games are being held through June 30. The events Barbara will participate in will be on June 29 and 30. “I’m very excited to go to Texas to compete in the National Senior Games,” said Kerr.
“I look forward to going to Texas on June 25 with my daughter Pat,” said Kerr.
Barbara has three children: daughter Pat, who lives in New Bern, and two sons John, who lives in New York, and Ed, who lives in Seattle, Wash. She also has two grandchildren, Cameron and Natalie Kerr.
“We all wish Barbara the best as she travels to Texas for the national competition, said Cottle. “Regardless of winning or not, she will always be our hero,” added Cottle.