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Obituary: THE REVD DESMOND KER

by
17 October 2014

A correspondent writes:
THE Revd Desmond Agar-Ellis Ker, who died in Folkestone on 19 August, aged 99, was educated at Malvern College, where his father was bursar. He served in the Second World War as a commissioned officer in Iceland, later attached to the Durham Light Infantry, in coastal defences in the south of England. In 1944, he married Priscilla Riley, whose father commanded the Home Guard in the Dawlish area.

After the war, he resumed work as a journalist in Worcestershire, and was for some years a night editor in Edinburgh. Having become closely involved in the Scottish Episcopal Church, he decided to train for the ministry. In this he was following family tradition: his grandfather, Welbore MacCarthy, had been Archdeacon of Calcutta and the first Bishop of Grantham; earlier ancestors included an Anglican bishop and an archbishop in Ireland, and a Roman Catholic bishop appointed by King James II, who later Bishop of Segni, in Italy.

Ker trained at Mirfield, served as deacon in Wells, and as an assistant curate successively in Coventry, and at Chelston with Cockington in the diocese of Exeter, before becoming Rector of St John's, Bovey Tracey. In 1980, he was appointed Rector of Rothesay on the Isle of Bute. His time there was cut short by Mrs Ker's death in August 1982.

He continued his ministry at St Sylvan's, Limpsfield, Kent, and at Holy Trinity, Hastings. In his later years, he lived in sheltered housing, and then in care homes in Folkestone, near his surviving sister, Sheila Davies. His funeral was taken by the Dean of Argyll & The Isles, the Very Revd Andrew Swift.

Ker leaves a son, Stephen, a musician, and a nephew and niece. A requiem mass will be held at St Peter's, Folkestone, on 25 October at 2 p.m.

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