Who is Frederick?


What's in a name? by Paul Barry-Walsh

Between moves from Germany to Cyprus, aged nine, I lived in Ireland with my mother and grandparents for eight months.  Frederick and Laura lived in a seaside town in Southern Ireland.  During this time I got very close to Frederick.  He was the most selfless person I ever knew, modest and generous to a fault.  I often heard people say he was ”the last gentleman in Arklow”.  He seemed to gain much pleasure from giving.  Each week there would be a knock on his door and the needy person never left empty handed.  His sporting trophies ebbed away as many clubs asked if he would donate cups and shields (he was a fine sprinter) and he would always insist on paying for everything.  I remember on one occasion he found my father mowing the lawn with the old push mower and he rebuked him and said he should not be doing this at his age (he was 25 years younger than Frederick at this time) and banished him to the sitting room.

He served in the Great War and later worked as an accountant at Stormont where he was awarded an OBE.  His philosophy was to take little and give as much as you could.  Although not wealthy he bailed out various members of the family at one time or another.  He just did not seem to value material possessions though his more practical wife would regularly scold him.

Finally aged 92 he became ill and by now he was living with us in England.  Not wanting to cause any problems for my mother he simply stopped eating and passed away within a week.  As ever there were many wonderful tributes and when it came to naming a charity Frederick Kerr was fittingly the person who immediately came into my mind.