OOD Editor, angling legend John Kerr passes

by Steve Galea | March 30, 2020
John Kerr
John Kerr. (Photo courtesy Stephen Bates)

Former Ontario OUT of DOORS Editor-in-Chief John Kerr passed away from complications related to cancer on March 28. He passed peacefully in the East York home he lived his whole life in, surrounded by his loving family.

He was 73.

Kerr was a legendary angler and outdoors writer, who worked as a longshoreman on Toronto’s waterfront, until he embarked on a full-time freelance career in the mid-‘70s, writing for the Globe and Mail.

Kerr then began writing for Ontario Fisherman and Hunter, the predecessor to OOD, in the late-‘70s, where his innate integrity and encyclopedic knowledge of angling quickly caught the attention of readers.

At Ontario OUT of DOORS

Kerr became OOD’s Fishing columnist and in-office editor in 1984. He also wrote weekly outdoors columns for the Toronto Sun from 1981 until 2009. Afterwards, he was chosen to lead the magazine as Editor-in-Chief, a position he held until his retirement in 2012.

Among other honours, Kerr was inducted into the Canadian Angler Hall of Fame in 2010. He was a friend and mentor to many outdoor writers.

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  1. Earl MacLean wrote: Very said to here about his passing. I use to read all his articles for over 20 years. He was a very good outdoor writer.
  2. George Pearn wrote: The passing of my friend John hit me hard yesterday as I was standing on a river bank we’d spent countless hours on together over the years.... he will be sadly missed.... RIP my friend you did well ❤️
  3. joel bond wrote: I remember his dad loved to sit out front of his house and his mom would let me shovel the driveway for money as a kid in east york great family so sad
  4. Dale Hainer wrote: This man was likely the sole reason I was kept on as Field Editor with the magazine for 27 years. He motivated me. He propped me up. He corrected my mistakes and made me look like a professional. John once told me late in the game "You were always a tough edit, but you have this home town style that readers can relate to"... (I think he was calling me a Redneck) :) Time passes. Things change. We all had a good run. Life was exceptionally fun for JK. I thank you for believing in me and truly enriching MY life and everyone else who ever picked up a copy of Ontario OUT of DOORS Magazine
  5. Craig Ritchie wrote: I'm truly saddened to learn of John's passing. He was a wonderful human being and an extremely patient mentor. Rest in peace old friend, you will absolutely be missed.
  6. Mark Cousins wrote: RIP John. Now you can fish & Hunt all day in heaven.
  7. Susan Kane-Doyle wrote: John was such a lovely quiet gentleman. He was always supportive. He had patience to put up with all the political stuff and then would express his views which were normally right on the nose. And he always had a warm, caring smile that I will miss. Thank you John,you were very special.
  8. Brad Bedford wrote: I learned a lot from reading John's articles and dreamed of catching the fish he spoke of. He instilled a passion for the outdoors that I've never lost. I never met him but feel a real sense of loss with his passing. My sincere condolences.
  9. Ron wrote: I had the pleasure meeting John only once, but was a frequent reader of his articles. He participated in a fund raiser for the developmentally handicapped I organized and was an excellent presenter. One of the reasons I loved reading Ontario Out of Doors.
  10. Andrew wrote: This hits in a unique way; I never knew John but I did frequently read his articles. He had a unique way of writing that a true fisherman (or outdoor person) could relate. His articles had the specific details that only an experienced angler could relate to - enough about that. What hits me is that we are all limited in the days outdoors we have. I will never regret playing hooky to go fishing. Remember we’re all here for a limited time - make sure you’re grateful for it, protect our outdoors and make the most of it. Thanks for your example John.
  11. Derek Konieczny wrote: I am one of the countless readers of John's articles who gained much insight through his words. Very sad to read this news. Thank you very much for all you did Mr. Kerr.
  12. Luigi Mancuso wrote: My deepest condolences to John's family. I never met John but I feel as if I have known him my whole life. Sad news.
  13. Dave Webb wrote: I remember reading John's articles all through the 70s 80s 90s and 2000s. He's one of those guys you wish you could be more like. We will all miss him. My sympathy to his family.
  14. Rob Zucchetto wrote: I grew up fishing on The Ganaraska River fishing (in the vecinity) with Mr. Kerr. He was a legend on that River. I waited with much anticipation to read any articles he wrote about steelheading. Really understood the love anglers had for this sport!!! My condolences go out to his entire family and close friends.
  15. greg pearson wrote: Great man! Met him as a young teenage fishing Duffins creek, he always had time to help you improve your fishing skills and was a world of knowledge with anything related to the Outdoors! He will be miss!
  16. Kelly Kerr wrote: Thank you to everyone who has left a comment sharing condolences, or a memory of my dad. It is heartwarming to see how many people whose lives he made an impact on. He fought the cancer to the very end. He was so loved by his family and we all miss him terribly. But we are so proud of him and his accomplishments. We hope to see many of you at his Celebration of Life later this year.
  17. Scotty Leighton wrote: very sad to have found that John had passed away. i have been out of angling for many years now and last saw John at a fishing show about 5 years ago. i remember fishing the Ganaraska in the fall and opening weeks in the 80's and early 90's with John. We both had the honor of being a part of establishing the first Ganaraska Sportsmen's Association along with a number of local enthusiasts. i believe this club still exists to this day. fishing with John and a group of friends on many opening mornings above hwy 106 on the "Ganny" are memories i think of frequently and will always cherish. i always looked to John as a mentor and always appreciated (as did anyone who knew him) his patience and knowledge and advice on fishing. to me Johns dedication to the sport of angling and his unselfish passing on this knowledge to anyone who asked will always be his legacy. one hell of a guy !! my condolences to all of Johns family. i just wish i had some of the pics of us he featured in the Sun and Out of Doors.