TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Monsignor William A. Kerr, a leading human rights figure who was spiritual counselor to serial killer Ted Bundy, died Wednesday. He was 68.
Kerr was hospitalized May 3 after suffering a stroke as he concluded celebrating a Mass.
"Monsignor Kerr traveled all over the globe, touching lives everywhere as he worked to build a more peaceful world," Florida State University President T.K. Wetherell said in announcing his death. "The world has lost a true visionary."
Kerr in 1978 administered last rites to a woman bludgeoned to death in her sorority house near the Florida State campus by serial killer Ted Bundy, who himself later turned to the priest for spiritual counseling.
He last spoke with Bundy two days before the condemned man died in Florida's electric chair in January 1989.
Whether he was visiting refugees in Rwanda or Bosnia or sharing Thanksgiving dinner each year with his longtime friend Roger Staubach, the former Dallas Cowboys and Navy star quarterback, Kerr touched lives, his friends say.
Staubach once said if anyone could resolve the differences between the Israelis and Palestinians, he'd bet on his longtime friend.
Kerr's career took him from a parish priest in his St. Louis hometown to the presidency of La Roche College near Pittsburgh, vice president of Catholic University and executive director of the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, D.C.
Kerr spent many years in Tallahassee after being assigned to the Catholic Student Center at Florida State University in 1971. He returned in 2006 as executive director of the Claude Pepper Center for International Dialogue.
A funeral is tentatively scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday at the St. Thomas More Co-Cathedral, where the Monsignor fell ill earlier this month.