Les Kerr

William Leslie Kerr was born near Renfrew, Ontario in 1902. Like his predecessor James McLean he too received a degree in Agriculture from the College in Guelph. He continued his studies in Maryland and received his Masters of Science in Agriculture in 1928. He remained in Maryland and worked for the Federal State, Fruit and Vegetable Service.

In 1932 Les returned to Canada and worked at the Experimental Farm in Rosthern as a fruit breeder, where he met his future bride, Blanche Luke who was a schoolteacher. Later in the year he was transferred to the Morden Experimental Station in Manitoba, where he was research officer in charge of fruit breeding. In 1936 he married Blanche in Rosthern.

He carried his special interest of fruit breeding with him when he accepted the post of Superintendent at the Forest Nursery Station in 1942. During his tenure at the Nursery Station he made it a destination for prairie plant growers as he showcased his introductions of trees and shrubs developed at the Station and later his collection of mums as supervisor of the Forestry Farm.

Members of the Prairie Association of Nurserymen attend a field day and examine the Chrysanthemum trials at the Forestry Farm.
Photo credit: Friends of the Forestry Farm House

Having no children of their own, Les and Blanche Kerr applied to become surrogate parents for two 'guest' children. This was in Morden Manitoba in 1940. The 'Guest' children were evacuees from England, sent to Canada to avoid the heavy bombing in England. Peter and Douglas Wilde, seven and nine years old came to live with the Kerrs and Peter Wilde, made the trip to Sutherland with them, when Les accepted the position of Superintendent.