Robert S. Kerr
Robert S. Kerr
“It is what we do over and above making a living that justifies the living, and the opportunity for making a living.”
Oklahoma’s legendary friend, Governor and Senator Robert Samuel Kerr attended East Central State College (now East Central University) (1909-1911, 1912-1915), Oklahoma Baptist University (1911-1912) and the University of Oklahoma (1915-1916) before spending one year as a school teacher and entering the U.S. Army (1917-1922). He was admitted to the Oklahoma Bar in 1922 and formed an oil well drilling company, which later became Kerr-McGee, in 1926. Kerr was elected Democratic National Committeeman in 1940 and became the Governor of Oklahoma in 1943. He then served in the U.S. Senate (1948-1963) and, in 1960, published his highly-acclaimed book Land, Wood, and Water about his views on the conservation of natural resources. Kerr was a leading Baptist layman, taught Sunday School for many years, and is said to have given one-third of his vast wealth to the church and its institutions.
Robert S. Kerr was the first native born Governor of Oklahoma (1943-1947). In 1963, mourners, including U.S. President John F. Kennedy and Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson, attended Senator Kerr’s funeral at First Baptist Church in Oklahoma City. Thousands, unable to obtain seats in the church sanctuary, reverently stood outside in pouring rain and listened to the service broadcast over loud speakers.
Kerr was born near Ada, Indian Territory.