Lloyd James Kersh was born April 20, 1927 in Segno, Texas, to Wiley Graham Kersh, and Katie Collins Kersh. Life was tough, they farmed and lived in a house with a dirt floor. His father died when Lloyd was seven years old. He was helping a neighbor rope a bull, and his leg got tangled and had to be amputated. He never recovered, and died from pneumonia. Lloyd had three siblings, Earl, the oldest, Lloyd, Fayelene, and Charles was just a baby when their father died.
Life was a bit tougher after that. His mother took in washing clothes for others by hand, and extended family living nearby helped keep the family in food. Lloyd asked Jesus into his heart as a young boy, and was baptized in a creek in Segno, Texas. He loved the Lord, serving as a deacon in his local church through most of his life. He enjoyed wearing caps and his favorite one for the past many years had John 3:16 on it (“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”)
Money was scarce and as a young boy, Lloyd learned to hunt for food with a sling shot. He would hit a squirrel or rabbit and bring it home for the family. A little older, his mother purchased .22 bullets and would give him a single bullet to get food. He became a crack shot and his mother eventually let him have the small box of .22s. Many mornings, he would shoot a squirrel, and his mom would fry it up for his lunch at school. In those days, wearing bathing suits in the country swimming hole was rare and he would go skinny dipping with the boys in the creek as a youngster - hiding clothes in a hollow tree.
When Lloyd was a young teenager, his mother moved the family to Livingston, Texas. Not having a Dad had an impact on Lloyd and affected his life. However, Lloyd had several male figures that mentored him. Dr Baker, a dentist, taught him to paint, wallpaper, and do various home remodeling. He also worked for a butcher around age 14. He would take the cow out to pull up on a tree, shoot, skin, and cut up before taking back to the butcher.
One of Lloyd’s lifelong passions started as a teenager, when he learned to fly. He earned his pilot’s license before he had a driver’s license. At age 17 in 1944 during WWII, he enlisted in the Navy, and trained to be a radio operator. He wanted to be a pilot in the Navy, but he failed the hearing test in one ear and was SORELY disappointed. However, he flew general aviation well into his 80’s. Lloyd graduated from Sam Houston State with a degree in Biology. He did research at Huntsville State Penitentiary, and there he met his wife, Betty, who was a secretary.
On their first date, Lloyd told Betty he was “sorta” a boxer, and boxers knew how to kiss a girl “good” goodnight. Her response “ummmmmmm…they DO!” Ha-ha. We never heard this story before, but Jeff found it in her Wedding Memoirs book while we were cleaning out recently. They had a sweet wedding ceremony July 18, 1952. After a honeymoon to Florida, they returned home, where Lloyd surprised Betty with a piano he had delivered while they were gone. Betty played that piano for 70 years! Dad always referred to Betty as his “sweetheart”.
Besides flying, Dad’s other interests included hunting, fishing, and occasional golf. He could whistle beautifully. He and his daughter Dawn enjoyed whistling in harmony on their monthly trips to the Stryk dairy near Schulenburg. He was an insurance salesman in early marriage, then became a Real Estate Broker. He kept that license up until he was 90 years old. He also worked in the oil field for about 20 years reading logs. He went to law school, but quit before graduation. We wonder what would have happened if he had finished. He’d probably been a great real estate attorney or a great oil and gas attorney. Lloyd was a quiet man, and enjoyed supporting Betty in her interests of art and poetry.
He loved ice cream and fresh “sweet” milk, and could make a mean beef stew. He always had a twinkle in his eye, and in family photographs was usually saying something funny.
His sweetheart, Betty Jean Strickland, proceeded him into eternity with the Lord on their 70th wedding anniversary. Lloyd is also predeceased by a great grandson, and is survived by their three children, James, Dawn, and Jeffery, six grandchildren, fourteen great grandchildren (who affectionately called him “HoneyDaddy”), and numerous family and friends. Lloyd lived a long, full life, and joined his sweetheart in heaven on September 28th, 2022. Lloyd was buried in a private ceremony in Bethlehem Cemetery in Brenham, Texas with military honors.
We salute you, Dad, and will miss you dearly, until we meet again and tell Mom “hi”.