CHARLESTON, IL – Phillip Duncan Kerz, age 88, passed away peacefully on Thursday, March 12, 2020 at the Villas of Holly Brook in Charleston. A private family inurnment with military services is planned for a later date at Roselawn Cemetery in Charleston. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Coles County Animal Shelter or a military charity of choice, and may be mailed in care of Adams Funeral Chapel, 2330 Shawnee Drive, Charleston, IL 61920.
Phil was born August 19, 1931 in Ottawa, Illinois to Harry P. and Margaret E. (Duncan) Kerz. A 1950 graduate of Dixon High School, Phil spent a semester in college before deciding to enlist in the United States Marine Corps. Serving from 1951 to 1954 he reached the rank of Sergeant and fought in the Korean War. Phil was wounded in battle and was honored with the Purple Heart and Bronze Star for Valor. Following his discharge from service he attended Northern Illinois University from 1954 – 1958 and received a BS in Zoological Sciences and Chemistry, the University of Illinois from 1958 – 1960 receiving a BS in Veterinary Science, and the University of Illinois 1960 – 1962 earning his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. While at Northern, Phil married Roberta (Bobbie) Mercer in Dixon, Illinois on June 26, 1955. Following graduation, he moved his family to Charleston and he and fellow classmate, Curt Witt purchased the veterinary practice of Dr. John Buckler. Curt spent two years in Charleston then relocated to Maple Park Illinois, and Phil moved his practice and opened Crestline Veterinary Clinic located west of Charleston. “Doc”, as he was commonly called, spent 38 years working with both large farm and small companion animals until his retirement in 2000.
Phil was preceded in death by his parents and his wife Bobbie in April 2005. He is survived by his two sons, Bret D. Kerz of Charleston and Bart M. Kerz and his wife Sherri of Springfield, Illinois. Phil was the proud grandfather of six; Tory Kerz of Mattoon, Jesse Kerz and wife Tara of McKinney TX, Blake Kerz of Springfield, Rachael Steelman and husband Ben of Westwood Hills, KS, Taylor Kerz and Madison Green of Charleston, and Payne Kerz of Lawrence, KS; four great grandchildren; one great-great grandchild.
Phil was a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Eastern Illinois Veterinary Medical Association, Charleston Chamber of Commerce, and Moose, Elks and Eagles Organizations. He was a member and served on the board of the Charleston Country Club and Charleston Food Pantry, and as a volunteer worker, building houses for Habitat for Humanity. Phil served on the board of the Charleston VFW Post 1592 and as Post Commander from 2015 - 2016. He took immense pride in his country and as a member and leader of the VFW Honor Guard conducting veteran’s military funeral services.
Phil had a tremendous love of animals and had numerous pets throughout his life. He was a private pilot, raced micro midgets, made many trips to Canada and Lake Erie to fish and loved the frustration of golf.
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