His life was the news obituary that is never written. Jim Kerr (1941-2024)

I went to see my father at the funeral home this morning. I do not feel safe around most of my cousins and extended family because of the secret keeping that ravaged our entire family. So the funeral home permitted me to visit privately before opening to the public.

My childhood friend Stephanie offered to drive me. I was happy because she had met my father many times although long ago. It felt more “typical” to have her escort me. She’s also a former Catholic kid so she knew the drill.

My father looked nothing like himself and yet reminded me of someone. He looked quite handsome in a suit jacket and plaid tie. He wasn’t a fancy dresser, but when he did put on his party clothes – he enjoyed it. His casket was quite attractive, but I was sad to see just one set of flowers (from my brother’s coworkers) and no donations in lieu of. It reflects the loneliness and isolation that defined his entire life, all 83 years. He spent 50 years in the mills with hundreds of coworkers, lived for decades in a neighborhood, and yet … does no one notice he’s gone?

On Saturday, Sarah took me to see his childhood home on nearby Greenlee Road. Just a mile or so from where I have been staying for six months. I think the house is a rental, but it looks empty now. I’d like to find Mr. William C Stein and ask if I could see inside. It looked forlorn, almost as if it was waiting for someone.

Greenlee Road

Rising into the heavens in the front yard were two pine trees, as old as my father at least. He often told a story about the family’s pet roosters, Hey You and You Too. The roosters liked to climb the trees and harass the neighbors. Another reason not to gift children with chicks at Easter, my friends. Somewhere there’s a photo of at least one of them.

________________________________________________________________________________________ >
For 18+ years, snowflakes, social justice warriors, and the politically correct have built this blog. Help us keep this content free and accessible with a recurring or one-time donation.

GoFundMe ** Venmo ** Paypal ** CashApp ** Patreon
Each donation creates a digital snowflake vis a vis Steel City Snowflakes _______________________________________________________________________________________________

It was only this past year that I realized my father was not born in Brentwood. According to the Allegheny County Real Estate Portal, the house on Greenlee Road was not built until 1945. My father was born in 1941, so it turns out he lived in Mt. Washington for the first four years or so of his life. That tracks because he described very early Christmases with the decorations going on the tree on Christmas Eve behind the pocket doors that led to the living room. A 1945 3 bedroom Colonial house in Brentwood would not have pocket doors. An older, larger house accommodating 5 adults and 2 children probably did.

He never talked about that, but I suspect it is why he felt the loss of Christmas when they downsized to Brentwood. Maybe he never realized he had moved?

I know I am supposed to write a proper obituary for my father. I’m just not there yet. I tried to place on in his beloved Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (with absolution from the NewsGuild given the circumstances) but its a fortune and Pennsylvania law required me to go through the funeral home who added on a lot more to the cost.

It feels quite wrong that my Dad did not have a proper newspaper obituary. His grandfather, the one who raised him, spent 50+ years in the newspaper industry, retiring as ‘Executive Editor’ aka copy desk editor of the Post-Gazette sports desk. My parents read the paper every day. He in particular read everything, every inch of newsprint. He’s the Silent Generation, the put your head down and work hard generation. The accept your lot in life generation.

In many ways, my Dad was the prototypical Pittsburgh man. Born in the City, raised in the suburbs. Five generations of steelworkers preceded him in to the mill, in spite of his grandfather’s ascendancy into the white collar world. Too much alcohol and illegal gambling. Approximately Catholic until his baptism in 2004. Many trips to the Outer Banks to visit his uncle, long before it was built up. Made sure his kids went to college and was pleased we both earned Master’s Degrees. Loved the Steelers. Loyal to the steel and coke industry for allowing him to earn a living but outspoken about the flaws, particularly environmental. Very aware no one was listening to him. No one rarely did.

His life was the news obituary that is never written. The folks who put their heads down and worked hard in spite of everything.

It is a damn shame.



We need your help to save the blog.

For 18+ years,  snowflakes, social justice warriors, and the politically correct have built this blog.

Follow us on Twitter @Pghlesbian24 and Instagram @Pghlesbian

We need your ongoing support to maintain this archive and continue the work. Please consider becoming a patron of this blog with a recurring monthly donation or make a one-time donation.       This post and/or others may contain affiliate links. Your purchase through these links support our work. You are under no obligation to make a purchase.