This biographical sketch is adapted from the "News
of the Church: Elder Wm. Rolfe Kerr of the Seventy" in the Ensign for May
1996 on the occasion of Elder Kerr's call to the Second Quorum of the Seventy.
Involvement in service comes naturally for Elder
Wm. Rolfe Kerr. Service to the Church and community is something he learned
from deeply committed parents, he explained, and the desire to serve is
a legacy he would like to leave to his children.
“My nature is to be very involved,” he said. But
in considering the import and challenges of his new calling, he turned to
the word overwhelmed—and then repeated it: “I am overwhelmed with the respect
that I have for the Brethren and aware of so much that I have to learn.”
He made his career in the field of learning, in administrative
positions at Utah State University (USU), Weber State College (now a university),
the University of Utah, Dixie College (he was president), and Brigham Young
University. He was Utah’s
commissioner of higher education when called as a mission president
in 1993. He continued as president of the Texas Dallas Mission until
Born in Tremonton, Utah, 29 June 1935, Rolfe Kerr
grew up on a farm. He earned a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from USU,
intending to spend his life farming—until he was offered a position as
coordinator of student activities at USU after his military service. He
later received a master’s degree in marriage and family relations and a
doctorate in education.
After serving in the British Mission, he met Janeil
Raybold at USU. They were married 15 September 1960 in the Logan Temple.
The Kerrs had six children.
Elder Kerr was a stake president and also
served in bishoprics and on the Sunday School General Board. For two years
in the 1960s, he was involved in helping organize the Latter-day Saint
Elder Kerr said he is grateful for experiences that
have brought “a love of the Savior and an abiding testimony of the gospel.
These will be at the base of anything I am able to do in the future.”
Elder Kerr was called to the First Quorum of the Seventy
on April 5, 1997. On October 6, 2007, a grateful Church assembled in the 177th
Semi-annual General Conference, gave him a vote of appreciation as he was
released from the First Quorum and named General Authority Emeritus. He retained
his position as Commissioner of Church Education.