Billiards Promoter Joe Kerr Passes Away
Longtime friend, player, and promoter of billiards, Joe “Joker” Kerr passed away Sunday, July 6, 2008, succumbing to myasthenia gravis. Kerr was born March 25, 1945, in Akron, OH, and lived all his life in that area, attending Archbishop Hoban High School and the University of Akron. For 15 years he was the store manager for Carlton Clothes and then became regional manager for Nelson Stag Shops.
In 1978 Kerr became a member of the Men’s Professional Billiards Association (MPBA) and won several titles, including the 1983 Detroit Open and the 1985 Genesis Classic Championship. Two years later he founded Joker Promotions, directing and promoting professional pool events all over the world. When, in 1988, he was elected executive director/secretary treasurer of the MPBA, he began representing the top 1,000 players in the world.
One of the biggest honors of his life came to Kerr in 2000 when he was inducted into the Canton Sports Hall of Fame as a promoter and player. Kerr also worked as a writer for several industry publications, including On the Snap. Additionally, he was the house pro at both the infamous Starcher’s and Diamond Billiards in Akron.
Kerr is survived by his parents, his two children, and his three grandsons.
Mike Janis of the Viking Cue 9-Ball Tour said, “Joe ‘Joker’ Kerr, was a dear friend of mine as well as our sport. Joe made a huge contribution to our sport with his professional tournament direction, promotional skills, and wonderful personality. He was a pleasure to be around and will be dearly missed by all he who knew him.
“In 1996 Joe Kerr received the only lifetime honorary membership the Viking Tour has ever issued. Over the years Joe and I stayed in constant contact, and he was always willing to help out with whatever he could. I will deeply miss my conversations with Joe and wish I had more time to spend with him.”
Family and friends can visit Adams-Mason Memorial Chapel at 791 East Market Street, Akron, OH, from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 9, with a memorial service at 7 p.m. Memorials may be made in the name of Joseph Kerr to the Ohio Chapter of the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation, 2907 Lincoln Way E Unit B, Massillon, OH 44646.
Photo courtesy of Bill Porter