Shoulders We Stand Upon John Hawley Kerry- Karen Hirst

Shoulders We Stand Upon  John Hawley Kerry- Karen Hirst

From my recently completed biography of John Hawley Kerry titled Shoulders We Stand Upon, I submit this excerpt for The Tales of Almonte collection.

Always grateful to the community for the support and encouragement provided to him and his family throughout the years, my father made a commitment to serve his community whenever able to do so.

” Over the years John gave back to his community by serving on the Boards of various organizations and participating in Club activity. He served in the Lions club for over sixty years and was renowned for the successful sales and organization of the 50/50 annual draw.

As a member of the Almonte General Hospital Board for eight years and taking his turn as Board Chair for two years, he was on the site committee with George Gomme, Art Stewart and George Dunfield for the building of a new hospital on its current site.

John was a Trustee for the East Lanark School Board for Almonte and Carleton Place High Schools for ten years and Chair of the Board for two years. He participated as a Board member during the additions being made to both the Almonte High School and the Carleton Place High School.

Taking his turn as Chair following Raymond Jamieson, he also has continued as a Trustee for the United Church Board of Trustees for over fifty years.

John was actively involved in the downtown BIA Association and as a member of the Almonte Legion drove the White Cross Mothers on November 11th for several years.
Always a willing contributor and source of assistance whenever it was required to help grow the Friendly Town of Almonte and assist its citizens—John did his part.
Supporting his son Paul’s passion for hockey and a good way to announce his brand, John outfitted a hockey team and named them Kerry Komets.


A part of the Furniture Store history included John’s willing participation in the annual Almonte Fair. Many items of furniture and appliances were hauled to the Agricultural Hall at the fair grounds for commercial show and display along side of the many other local businesses who participated. Hauled by truck to the fair grounds and then returned to the Furniture Store—one was never sure as to whether or not the limited sales that resulted warranted the back breaking effort but it was a great meet and greet opportunity for all concerned.

Annual participation in celebratory Town parades required some creative effort and team spirit by staff and family as well.

A great honor for John was to be named Citizen of the Year for the Town of Almonte sometime in the 1960s following the previous recipient, Evelyn Jamieson.”
As a side note: As shared with me by recipients, John has been a supporter and source of encouragement for other individuals who have sought and been successful in establishing their own business endeavors.

I am proud of my father’s service and continued contributions to his community. I will share further excerpts of his journey in future posts. Karen Hirst

On this rainy October morning while leafing thru old photos, I came across a group photo of members of the East Lanark School Board for Almonte and Carleton Place. My father, John Kerry, 4th from the left, sat on this board for ten years and took the role of Chair for two years. Dad participated as a board member during the building of new additions to both the Almonte High School and the Carleton Place High School. Today as I view the yellow bricked addition at the side of the Almonte and District High School, It pleases me to know that my father played his part in the evolution of our Almonte and District High School. I can’t put names to all the other faces so I am hoping others can do so. I salute their commitment to the growth and improvement of our community services. Wherever this finds you this morning we each, in our own way, play a part in building the community we find ourselves privileged to live in each and every day. Take care, keep safe and stay well. Yes we can and yes we will, together. Karen Hirst
Bygone days—-the ladies in the photo are believed to be members of Hospital Auxillary of Almonte General Hospital

Mrs. Winslow-Spragge next to John Kerry
Mrs. Isobel Jamieson ( wife of Bill Jamieson)
Unknown lady? Karen Hirstphoto

Photos: Dad sitting beside his Mother; Upper Rt. –Dad’s first funeral in Almonte 1954, Lower Rt.—Dad with his calf on farm Lake Scugog Island Bottom Rt. 2011

John Kerry—high school years

Karen, Grandma Kerry, father John Kerry and great grandfather Holmes

karen, grandma Colley, mother Marion Kerry, great grandmother Lee

A glimpse into Ambulance Service in Almonte in 1954….

Having purchased the Scott Funeral Home from Mrs. Loretta Scott in 1954, one of two local ambulance services was operated under the new ownership by John Kerry.

Taking a trip back in time, the photo below shows the ambulance vehicle used by the Kerry Funeral Home. The service would be provided by the two local Funeral Homes in Almonte until 1961 when the province assumed full responsibility for the service.

Ambulance service was booked and called upon like you would a taxi service …. family members were phone bound 24/7.

It was an individual’s choice as to who you called and the service fee was approximately $5.00. Training was that of a First Aid Course and the service could result in every imaginable scenario that one might find themselves traveling on an ambulance cot.

A glimpse into Almonte’s Retail in 1954 ….

Having purchased the Scott Furniture Store from Mrs. Loretta Scott in 1954, the store’s name change represents new ownership by John Kerry .

Take a trip back in time and from this 1954 newspaper advertisement get a glimpse as to what was being sold on December 2nd, 1954 for $402.00

Thought I would share these Almonte photos from Karen Hirst–Good Morning to the Lanark County Genealogical Society Members–If you remember I made reference in my presentation to you of the board sided duplex of barn beam contruction that was located on Edward St. Almonte ( now called McCallum St.) across from the McCallum Soap factory. There are two pictures of this showing. The duplex was owned by Mr. & Mrs. Warren and upon ownership of the building, my father John Kerry had the building lifted and turned to front Water St. It has undergone many renovations, modernizations but continues today as a four unit apartment building the family refers to as The Water Street Apartments. The two pictures with the black shutters are taken from one of its earlier dressings, currently the building is taupe in colour. Karen Hirst

Reads as long as it takes to glimpse the passing of the torch……. The premises of Kerry’s Furniture & Appliances / Pharma Save Pharmacy, was owned by my father John Kerry from 1954 to 2019. It was purchased from Mr. W.E. Scott in 1954. Ed Scott had rebuilt the furniture store in 1904 following a major fire. At that time he had two storefronts constructed, which has continued to exist thru these current times. Mr. Wilf Snedden, Pharmacist and prominent resident of Almonte, rented the smaller portion of the divided building. Many will recall that he had a wonderful old fashioned soda fountain bar and stools to compliment the drug store and pharmacy services … it would be lovely to have that service reinstated somewhere for today’s lover of everything ice cream ! In my father’s era of ownership, there has been four pharmacy businesses, to be followed by the current Quilt Supply Store. What for many years housed the Furniture & Appliances side of the store, is currently an Antique Store. Prior to being sold, my father saw the building thru an outer face lift and some internal upgrades leaving the premises with its best foot forward for the next generation of users. With its sale completed in 2019, the history of the bricks and mortar, along with the businesses carried out within its walls by its proprietors, becomes another chapter in the continuing story of daily commercial life carried out on Mill Street

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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