Evelyn Berfond Kerr’s family wiped tears of sadness from their eyes as her funeral took place at Beth David Cemetery at 2 p.m. on Oct. 14. Nine hours later family members came full circle with their emotions as Stella Eve Kerr was born.
Kerr most likely would have reveled in that occurrence as for 49 of her 96 years she was a grandmother, who knitted dazzling sweaters for each grandchild and great-grandchild. A Hewlett resident for 65 years, she died on Oct. 12. “She was a wonderful role model for her entire family, and will always be remembered as classy, elegant and loving,” her daughter Carol Harrison said.
Evelyn Berfond was born in Brooklyn in 1922, the middle child and only daughter of Rae and Meyer Berfond. She was “the apple of her father’s eye,” according to Carol. Her youth was made comfortable with an extended family of grandparents, aunts and uncles that lived nearby. She recreated that closeness with her grandchildren.
Evelyn spent summers at Camp Blue Ridge and had many friends. She graduated from James Madison High School in 1940, then studied elementary education at New York University. She taught at the Little Red School House the Greenwich Village section of Manhattan.
Another unique incident set the stage for Kerr’s life. Rae played cards with Lena Kerr, who had a son. Evelyn and Benjamin met, courted and were married at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Manhattan on April 1, 1944. Benjamin got two days off from army duty. He was stationed in Massachusetts. They were marred for 64 years. Benjamin, a doctor, died in 2008. The union proved you can be lucky in cards and love.
Benjamin and Evelyn remained in Brooklyn, where their children, Carol and Michael, were born. In 1953, the Kerrs built a house on a vacant lot at the intersection of East Rockaway and Pond roads and enjoyed what they called “the country,” Carol said. Benjamin ignored neighbors who said that South Shore’s ocean breezes would cool the house. He designed an air conditioning system for the home that remains in working order.
With Benjamin’s office attached to the house, the family was together more often than not and it also afforded Evelyn the time to be active in the Hewlett-Woodmere PTA, the Long Island Jewish Hospital auxiliary (the same hospital Benjamin worked) and Hadassah, a Jewish women’s volunteer organization. She also cared for her sick mother that set an example for her children, Carol said. The family added golf to its activity list in 1960 as members of the Seawane Club in Hewlett Harbor. Evelyn also joined the Ladies board.
She set the bar high, “for her children to become responsible adults by providing a warm, nourishing and safe environment,” Carol said. As grandparents, the couple did the same. Attached to every Hanukkah gift check to be deposited in a savings account was a letter or “lecture” as Benjamin called the advice: “We, your grandparents, have lived long enough to know that large amounts of money, beyond the basic needs, do not make people happy with themselves. This can be achieved only if you learn through education about the world so that you can make your path through to your future with confidence. The thrill of knowing that you have done something well cannot be equaled in any other way.”
Along with Carol, Evelyn is survived by son Michael (Susie), grandchildren Wendi Harrison, Pamela Ludwick, Joshua Kerr and Zachary Kerr (Jessica), and great-grandchildren Maximillian and Roland Kerr, Jenny and Jack Kerr and Sylvie and Stella Kerr.