Sunday, April 5, 2020

Passing of a Legend: John Kerr Ontario OUT OF DOORS Magazine Retired Editor Passes

John Kerr passes away March 28, 2020 
By Luigi De Rose 

John Kerr was the first Ontario OUT OF DOORS Magazine personnel I ever met when I was asked to come in for a meeting. That was in the mid-1990s in the old Toronto Sun Building. John was a legend then and he still is now. When we first met, he might still have been the Fishing Editor, then my Managing Editor and closed out his career as Editor with Ontario OUT OF DOORS magazine. Over the years, John mentored me on fishing, life and writing. 

Best known for his writing, John was even a better angler. Skilled at catching anything from panfish to walleye. For much of the 1970s and 1980s, no one was better at steelhead trout than John. If you have every used a long, whippy trout rod, then you have a connection to Kerr. An early advocate of light line, floats and long rods he was the best. Fellow OOD writer Drew Myers, son of past Editor and Associate Publisher Burton J. Myers, told stories of John catching double the trout in a one bend of the Ganaraska River than all the other anglers combined. He was that good. I never fished with John. I wasn't cool enough. I did spend a few autumns in a goose blind with John. He was a good shot mostly because he was my boss and I always let him shoot first. 

To say John knew a lot is a huge understatement. He was on a different caliber than anyone I ever spoke to. John knew what wind was best for casting spoons to brown trout from a pier. He knew when to shift locations just based on the length of grass he fished. John's brain filed the names of every productive bay, creek or hump like they were old friends. I wished I could have tapped into John's volume of fishing knowledge more but he held his cards close; as legend usually do. 

John was a character and most have their own stories to share. My wife was always impressed with John's voice. His tone was always deep and serious. She would urgently alert me if he left a phone message. She worried as his voice sounded so serious. Burt Myers always told the story of how John always attempted to loose Burt when they fished in separate boats. Furious, Burt reminded John that he was the boss but this never phased John. 

I am sure John's close friends and family have volumes of memories to share. Personally, when I remember John, I also reflect of my late dad who fell ill to cancer almost to the day John was first diagnosed. At least John lasted two extra years than my father. 

Thanks John for being a totally cool guy. 

Here is Steve Galea's write up on the passing of a John Kerr. 

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