Personal: Thomas Kerr III is a long distance cyclist with the Charles River Wheelmen (since 1977, and 10 years as a ride leader) and an ex-marathoner (12 marathons completed in the 1970’s) and has been a student of American Combat Karate (along with his wife). As the son of the late Prof. Thomas H. Kerr, Jr. (Prof. of Piano at Howard University, and a famous concert pianist, organist, and composer, whose BA and MA were from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York) and more, Tom 3rd had previously played the cello, flute, piccolo, viola, and oboe himself up until his sophomore year at Howard in 1965 (thanks to the actions of Adre Owens, his superior officer in ROTC, Tom 3rd purged himself of almost all music and replaced it with science and mathematics). In the long run, this was actually to Tom III’s benefit!
Tom III’s grandfather, Thomas H. Kerr Sr. (a well known pharmacist in Baltimore, Maryland, who, along with other more standard prescriptions also sold Kerr’s “Kell-a-Kough” [any kid that was faking a cold to stay home from school would “miraculously” recover before having to take a second follow-up dose of this awful tasting stuff]), as a precedent, had also played the violin and flute well into his 90’s and had led an orchestra early on in Baltimore. Please click here to see a photograph of his grandfather’s drugstore. Tom comes from three generations of entrepreneurs, if one counts the hustling that his father did on the side by also serving as full time Organist and frequently as interim Choir Master at Plymouth Congregational Church for ~40 years, having his private piano students on the side, having organ concerts to dedicate new organs in various churches all over the Washington and Baltimore metropolitan areas, and playing other gigs and roasts yearly at the GridIron Club and weekly at the Tivoli Musical Theater restaurant in Georgetown (at night for more than ten years).
Four generations of Thomas H. Kerr’s !: Sr., Jr., III, IV (The T. Henderson Kerr Senior had commuted daily by train from Baltimore to Washington, D.C. to attend Howard University in order to become a pharmacist. Typically Chemistry classes start at 8:00AM so his daily odyssey probably started at 4:00AM.)
The Kerr's are known for their longevity (unless struck down by unnatural causes, as occurred when Thomas H. Kerr Jr. was struck by a car while crossing a street early one AM). Click here for more on T, Henderson Kerr Sr. (Grandipop). Click here for more on Grandipop. Click here for even more on Grandipop. Yet even more on Grandipop.
Tom III’s younger sister, Judith E. Kerr was at NBC for over 30 years (and won a national piano competition when she was twelve in a category including all instruments and performers up to age 16 ). Tom III’s late mother, Norma Elaine Kerr, obtained her Masters of Arts in Education from The Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. and worked as a pupil personnel worker in the D.C. school system. On Tom’s mother’s side, one uncle, the late Prof. Winston Kermit McAllister (Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Michigan by age 18 and enlisted in the Army in Europe during WW II) at Howard University in the 1960’s and ’70’s simultaneously held the following positions: Chairman of the Philosophy Department, Head of Admissions, Chairman of the Freshmen Orientation Assembly Program, and Head of Peace Corps Training during the summer while also teaching summer school. Uncle Kermit’s daughter, Kathleen McAllister Donoho, is currently a civilian Information Technology (IT) intelligence officer for the Department of the Army and is also a Lieutenant Colonel in the reserves. Tom III’s god mother, the late Alma Blackmon, a music educator and choir director extraordinaire, took Tom to Europe with her for 2 months visiting 8 countries during her funded research fellowship to study European kindergarten education in 1960. She also enrolled him in the book-of-the-month club as his birthday present when he was in the fifth grade. This was a wonderful, perspective-altering, start in life that he greatly appreciates.
Another uncle, the late James Winfred “Wint” McAllister was an assistant District Attorney in Baltimore, Maryland and later had a very successful law practice there. One of Uncle Wint’s daughters, Singleton B. McAllister, former General Counsel of the United States Agency for International Development is at Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky & Popeo in Washington, D.C. (see her photo in Friday, 22 July 2005 issue of The New York Times on page C-5) and was a partner in associations with several prior law firms. Another daughter, Donna McAllister, married a Baltimore judge. Tom’s cousin on his mother’s side, Harvey J. Anderson, a chemist, is now retired from the National Bureau of Standards. Go to Top
When Tom was in the 8th grade, he made this model of the Cutty Sark from scratch out of balsa wood (from Corr’s Hobby Shop on 9th St. in Downtown Washington, D. C.) Knowledge of the various parts of a Clipper Ship came in pretty handy when he had to read Herman Melville’s novel, Moby Dick, in the 10th grade. Tom also excelled in making model airplanes from scratch out of balsa wood. Bullwinkle Moose claims that the sailing contest was held on “Veronica” Lake. Rocky Squirrel claims that he saw the name Omar Khayyam inscribed on the front of the ship, where the ship's name should be, and, furthermore, that the ship was made entirely of rubies and consequently was “the Ruby-Yacht of Omar Khayyam”. Get it? The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam!
Nowadays (and for the last 40 years), he works with mathematical models of physical systems, as represented in state variable form. He also has a facility for handling systems described by Partial Differential equations or differential-difference equations of the retarded and neutral type. Go to Top
The above photo captures the diorama that served as Tom’s Science Fair project back when he was in the 9th grade (and he also began running long distances at that time despite his asthma, which soon vanished).
Tom, as he appeared (under the sign of the cross) in his undergraduate yearbook: The Howard Bison*, in Who’s Who in American Schools and Colleges. His specific graduation class celebrated the Centennial of Howard’s founding in 1867. Tom is in front of Rankin Chapel on the campus of Howard University. In 1989, his father’s funeral was held at this same chapel and, over a decade later, a tribute was held there paying homage to both his father and to his father’s musical compositions and performances, consisting of testimonials and a concert by the famously temperamental diva, soprano extraordinaire Kathleen Battle, in his fathers honor. She never disappoints (in both senses). Wonderful Bass Baritone William Warfield was to have been a speaker as well but canceled at the last minute because of failing health. Warfield himself died within a year. (Many may remember William Warfield’s redition of “Old Man River” in the movie Showboat.)
*Perhaps this is why he is accustomed to patiently dealing with and seeing through other people’s bull.
Although Tom lettered in Track and Cross Country in high school, he did not participate in athletics as a college undergraduate. However, in graduate school, Tom’s advisor, Prof. Earl Eyman, jokingly stipulated that one condition for Tom’s graduation was that he again run a mile in less than 5 minutes (as he had done in high school) and a second condition was for Tom to make his advisor run a sub-5 minute mile as well. Both of these two goals were met but Tom was always much more impressed by his advisor’s achievement since he was in his 40’s at the time. [His advisor went on to attain national records for the 220 yd dash and for the 440 yd run for his age group and actually climbed the Matterhorn in Germany in his late sixties, or was it in his seventies? He attacked the mountain on the day that his flight arrived instead of resting up as the other University of Iowa youngsters did. However, after that one day the bad weather that arrived subsequently prohibited further climbing attempts so Prof. Eyman was the only member who succeeded in climbing the mountain on this particular outing. Way to go Earl! ] Later, while living in Schenectady, New York in the early 1970’s, Tom trained and ran marathons with Gage Hotchkiss (Manager of Personnel at G. E.), with Ted Bick (Professor of Mathematics at Union College and well renown for having immediately climbed up a flagpole and torn down a North Vietnamese flag that some anti-war student protester had raised), and with Tom Osler* (then teaching mathematics at RPI in Troy, NY). Prof. Tom Osler went on to become the U.S. 50 mile champion after he moved to another college in New Jersey. Last word from Osler, via e-mail ~2004, was that he is still participating in Triathlons well into his sixties. Well, there is still hope for Tom Kerr to do so too! (To date, Tom Kerr has only participated in one triathlon in the mid 1980’s. He is not a strong swimmer. His last 20 mile foot race was in 1986. The “girls on bicycles are prettier” so now he confines himself to local Charles River Wheelmen (CRW) rides and to an occasional American Mountain Club (AMC) or American Youth Hostel (AYH) ride or Quad Cycles ride, where lycra and spandex rule the day.) He always found it very difficult to run through Wellesley, MA [Wellesley College being located at around 8 to 10 miles out from the start in Hopkinton] at a reasonable pace during his participation in several (~seven) Boston Marathons because of so many, shall we say, distractions (that would run along with him for several blocks). Now you know why (as do all male Boston Marathon participants)! Tom never partakes (but his eyes sometimes stray since he’s not dead yet!) Evidently, he has joined the DOM club because of his L&L imagination.
*Tom Osler, discussed above, is also known for having essentially single-handedly trail-blazed the challenging and useful area of “fractional derivatives” and their applications. This fact came out when the mathematics community started having annual meetings on the subject and, after a few years of doing so, they were mapping out what remained to be done and finally noticed that Tom Osler had already done it and published it 20 years earlier in prominent mathematics journals (so that the conference attendees were now just playing catch-up)!
Speaking of catch-up, Tom Kerr’s first CRW ride in 1977 started in Hopkinton too and Tom rode 70 miles in the drizzling rain with John Van der Pol of Concord, MA, at the time, a 68 year old WWII B-29 bomber pilot who had subsequently worked at the Pentagon but was retired by then. After completing 65 miles together, Tom decided to sprint in but after 4 miles of sprinting at full tilt looked back under his arm pit and saw John right behind him drafting in his wake and then John shot pass him right at the end to come in first. Wow! At age 75, John decided to ride his bike to his air wing convention in California and got as far as Texas but was side-swiped by a truck, which broke a few of his ribs. What a guy! Earlier, John and Ralph Galen (a.k.a. Dr. Go - a dentist and early cofounder of CRW) rode to New York city at Christmas time in the snow, and upon becoming stranded in Connecticut, both requested the authorities to allow them to spend the night in jail (to keep warm) and were so accommodated. Some of John’s other accomplishments: Hang-gliding when he was in his mid 60’s; helping to build the “Howard Johnson” lodge up in the White Mountains of New Hampshire (~ 5,000 ft.) in the 1950’s, when an Olympic skier of the day also helped and single-handedly carried up a sink on his back that weighed over 100 lbs. Hey! There was also the late Cutler West (another CRW cofounder), a physicist who held several of the original patents along with Dr. Land at Polaroid, and who continued to show up for the annual CRW New Year’s Day bicycle ride in Boston even when he was in his 90’s (being both his age and his weight at the time). I also frequently saw Dr. West at various times around Cambridge late at night reading a newspaper under the lights outside Stop & Shop in Porter Square, apparently to save money. No one would have ever guessed by his demeanor and his life style that he was a multi-millionaire. I could go on and on about interesting and unusual people that I have met in CRW. Hmmm, Eric Ferioli comes to mind too! In his youth, Eric had seriously trained for the Olympics. “Dumpster Diving” and a self-described “Bicycle Bozo”. Late at night, Wellesley police would frequently see a bicycle that they recognized leaning next to a dumpster and would turn on their spot lights and public address system, but not their sirens, and would then say “Eric, step away from the dumpster!” Eric is a really nice guy (who sometimes got on Lindy King’s last nerve when he would leave a tower of empty soda cans on her front door step as a practical joke to let the King’s know that he had been in their neighborhood - an incident that occurred more than once) who frequently rides junk bicycles retrieved from a dumpster. On one occasion, while he was stationed in Florida for his job as an ATLAS programmer, Eric was riding with a bunch of elite racing cyclists with very expensive bikes and proceeded to pull out far ahead and leave them without sweating at all. They were upset that he was beating them so badly and “with that piece of junk!” Eric always makes it look so easy without any apparent effort at all. He never bothered to get a car but just bicycles everywhere (loaded down with paraphernalia) no matter what the weather. Nowadays, Eric wears a white painter’s smock to protect himself from too much sun exposure during the summer. Others: Jamie & Lindy King (and their son Jesse), Ed Trumbull (a prior member of the CCC, who, while in military service on Thanksgiving Day, with some buddies tried to sneak a live turkey past the guard house and onto the base so that they could fix the bird up right but the guards realized that something was up when the turkey made a ruckus; however, there was a rope around the turkey’s neck that trailed fairly far ahead and when a 2nd lieutenant joined the guards and grabbed the bird, Ed and his buddies yanked the rope hard - the turkeys head came off and blood splashed all over the guard and lieutenant while the real culprits got away scott free - well this turkey story isn’t quite as inspirational as that of WWI hero Sgt. Alvin C. York but I’ll take it never-the-less), (after being button-holed by Ed Trumbull years earlier) Tom Kerr keep his promise to Ed Trumbull by becoming a CRW Ride Leader from 1990 until 1997 (as soon as Tom’s two sons were old enough), Sam Johnson and Birdy Ellsmore, John Allen, Joe Repole (70+ year old retired engineering consultant, known as Century Joe, since every time he goes out for a bicycle ride he goes 100 miles - but in winter he puts a little bourbon in his water bottle so the water won’t freeze but, as a consequence, Joe gets happier and happier the longer he is out), Mark Lamkin, Mike Hanauer, Jacek “Rudy” Rudowski, (the late) Sheldon Brown, Ken Hablow, Barry, Linda, and Gene Nelson, John Kane (an annual CRW Banquet moderator, who had 6 heart attacks while on a single bike ride and just popped a few nitro tablets and still came back up from retirement in North Carolina to ride 25 miles with CRW’s fall century the year after), Melinda Lyon (“The Lion”), then there was the very athletic woman from Rhodesia who always wore sandals while riding long distances no matter what the weather; she participated with an MIT club that disassembled their bicycles at the base of 6,000 foot Mt. Washington and put the parts on their backs and in backpacks and hiked up the mountain next to the Cog Railroad track, then reassembled their bikes at the top and rode down (otherwise, it is illegal to ride down because it is deemed too dangerous since applying the brakes too frequently to maintain control unfortunately also heats up the tires so much that the inner tubes expand and explode unless the brakes are used very sparingly) and then en masse they shot so fast past the guard at the bottom (who, otherwise, seeks to prevent bikes from ever going up) too fast to be safely stopped ... the list is endless! Likewise for Cambridge Sports Union (CSU), with Larry and Sara Mae Berman, Richard Brown (my dentist, past president of CSU, who once ran a marathon with a minor rupture that he recognized as a problem before the start), Joe & Nancy O'Connor, Joe Carlino (and his nemesis: Perez at Bank of Boston), Rick Levy (master of the pun and the limerick, who used to compete with Tom in both and in corn-ball jokes as we went two laps around Fresh Pond 20 years ago), Ron Bell (the unofficial mayor of Fresh Pond), Betty Davis (eyes), Fred Young (past manager of the Computer Sciences Group at the Smithsonian Observatory, who used to smoke cigarettes at the finish-line and would have to prove that he was indeed in the over 40 age category in the middle 1970’s in order to claim his first place prize. Later, he said that he was getting bored with running and always winning and was deciding to go into dance instead. I thought that he was merely involved in modern dance or teaching it but I later found out that he did a 20 year stint as a performer with the Boston Ballet Company, and he didn’t even start until he was in his 40’s! Wow again! Rick Levy recently informed Tom that Fred returned to running about 15 years ago at his same spectacular pace. At Joe Carlino’s 50th birthday party, Fred Young related a story about how a bee became ensnared in his Afro on one occasion while he was running. In the mid 1970’s, Fred had an Afro rivaling that of Angela Davis!) Rick Levy reminded Tom of a local biathlon in the early 1970’s (before Tom arrived on the local scene in 1973 and actually ran under CSU colors before Tom actually joined CSU, as Larry Berman, then president of CSU, was trying to decipher from race results depicting Tom’s enthusiastic back-to-back participation in a Friday evening race and in a Saturday morning race), where the fastest runner around at that time, Van Dyke, was first down the road and into the water and then the whole field overtook and passed him while he was flailing around in the water. To say that he was not a strong swimmer is a severe understatement. Fred Young eventually rescued him. Van Dyke was laughing his head off since he had never been passed before and for the first time it was by the whole field! (Tom now wonders if this Van Dyke was related to the beautiful and smart Karen Van Dyke, of the Transportation Systems Center and past ION President, who married and moved to the Washington, D.C. area after 2000.) In 1989, Tom Kerr was proud to have completed CRW’s “Cape in a Day”: proceeding from Cleveland Circle in Brookline (at 6:00AM) to Provincetown, MA (by 3:00PM) in order to take the last Ferry back to Boston. The total distance biked was 123 miles! Lindy and Jamie King did an excellent job laying down clear and plentiful arrows so that no one lost their way. Go to Top
Tom at age 28.
Finishing 1, 2 and 3 in Saturday’s 13 mile mini-marathon were Charles Tatarian (center), Reginald Marden (left) and Thomas Kerr in the 18-years-and-older category
(when Tom was 28). All three were awarded trophies. However, the other two were professional athletes. Tom definitely is not! Tom was 2nd. (Photo by Eric Weiss) Go to Top
Tom’s two adult sons occasionally participate in our TeK activities and developments. His oldest son, Thomas H. Kerr IV, was a U. S. Marine in Information and Communications in Iraq and ship-borne in the Pacific for 5 ½ years and keeps things humming and in “ship-shape” condition at TeK Associates. He also has a second younger son who is currently engaged in other pursuits. Go to Top
Another family member, Aniece Ragland Kerr, is office manager and handles security, travel, record-keeping, finances, and our ample library of reference and technical books, conference proceedings, and continuing education videos, DVDs\CD-ROMs, and on-line learning references and searches (and as his wife and an experienced professional school librarian of 30+ years [for the Town of Brookline, Massachusetts] is therefore the defacto head of TeK Associates). [She had previously run her own library at Heath School for many years as a middle school educator also responsible for their networked computers (its servers, and its back-up) and multimedia visual aids (and their checkout and return).] She has a B.A. in history from Tuskegee University (’66), an M.S. in Library Science from Atlanta University (’71), and was in the Peace Corps (’67-’69) in Colombia, South America. She recently retired from Brookline after 33 years in education. Please click here for her photograph. Go to Top
A few giggles at Google's Holloween bash!
Frank & Tom and their respective wives Dee & Aniece. (Photographed by Deirdre Niemann)
Goodbye Frank Gallagher (age: 82, BSCE MIT 1945; among other things: Chief Navigator aboard a wooden minesweeper during the Korean War; progeny 80 at his 80th birthday)! Into each life some rain must fall ...
... but eventually the sun will shine again! Go to Top
In earlier times, the three Musketeers plus one - Seated: Jennifer (the one), Frank Gallagher, Don Bell; Standing: Mike Breen; in the background: Jim Martin (all retired by now).
August 2009: d'Artagnan (absent from the picture above) enjoying a Mocha Freddo at Peets! En garde! = On guard!
(Photographed by Deirdre Niemann)
More about Tom’s family on his father’s side:
His father’s late sister, Louise Lyles Kerr (1916-2007) made a major contribution to the Civil Rights Program when she and her father, Baltimore pharmacists Thomas H. Kerr Sr., brought suit against Enoch Pratt Library for refusing to allow African Americans to be trained and employed by the library. The suit sought $4,500 in damages. In 1944, U.S. District Judge W. Calvin Chestnut dismissed the suit, saying that the library was a private corporation, not a governmental agency. The Negroes contended that since the City of Baltimore annually contributed about $500,000 to the library, the library is a public institution. They argued that by using public funds for that purpose, the city was taking funds of Negroes who were allegedly barred from the training course without “due process of law”. Although they did not win the case at the U. S. Circuit Court, the case aroused public opinion to the point where the library soon relented and admitted Negroes for employment. During the library’s 100th Anniversary Celebration, Mrs. Hines was honored for this effort. The case is now known as the “Kerr Principle” and has been applied many times since then, notably, at many state universities. Since 1997, many law school professors nation-wide have written several scholarly articles concerning this case.
His father’s late brother, Judson H. Kerr Sr., was a successful real estate agent in Baltimore, MD. The following is according to his son, Judson H. Kerr Jr., as written in ~2005:
“My youngest son, Jerome, has the following three children: Jasmine (age 8), Jahadd (age 4) and Jenisis (age 2), a wife and a dog. He works as a social worker
.... (They had been living in St Thomas Virgin Islands, but came back to Baltimore two years ago. My Oldest son, Judson H. Kerr III, is doing quite well. He works for a major property syndicate/Corporation and manages a 21 story High-rise Apartment facility in the re-gentrified area of downtown Baltimore. He has a staff, a private secretary, a glassed corner office ... and a beautiful lady friend, Jennifer Haynes.
I’d very much like to see him marry.
He’s working on it, but she is high maintenance. He is also an erstwhile practicing minister and deliverer of the Gospel. He sings quite elegantly and professionally both during church services and in
private appearances around Baltimore with a gospel group that he leads.”
“My Sister, Jessie Louise Kerr works at JHMI as well and lives in one of the houses my mother owns. Her two daughters, Monique and Pone still reside in Baltimore. Jessie is divorced and Monique is a single parent of three children, Raymond, Jonathon and Crystal. Pone recently married a man from NY, a Mr. Jimmy Carter, and they reside in Baltimore as well. Jerald Kerr had three daughters by his first marriage, Joy, and twins Jewel and Janice. They all still live in Baltimore, they are all grown now with families. All three are
PhD’s-two in education and the third-I’m not exactly sure what her area is. They have about six children among them. Jerald remarried to Sharon, They live in Columbia
MD, and have a daughter Jillian (age 4), who by the way, is the aunt of Jerald’s three
daughters’ children, and, at the same time Great aunt to all
Jerald’s grandchildren. Jerald has two other sons: Tode Kerr, a graduate of Hampton in Virginia, who teaches for the Baltimore City school System and Jerald Kerr Jr. (age 17), who just graduated from high school. Jim has two sons: Jay and Jeff. Jeff and his wife have two children, Julian (age 9) and a daughter, Jordan (age 8). They also live in Columbia Maryland.”
Unfortunately the above book, while good, overlooks too many of the notables like David Blackwell (RAND, later Head of U. C. Berkeley’s Statistics Department, Blackwell-Rao Factorization Theorem for establishing Sufficient Statistics, Richard Bellman’s and David Blackwell’s work on Differential Games at RAND in 1947-1949, etc.) Tom met Prof. Blackwell when Blackwell spoke at Howard University in the spring of 1967 in conjunction with a Pi Mu Epsilon induction ceremony and dinner while Tom III was student president of this Howard chapter of the national organization. This book also overlooks Clifton Samuels and many other notables that Tom knows of. This oversight is indeed unfortunate.
TeK Associates’ motto: “We work hard to make your job easier!”