Mourners will gather Tuesday at a funeral Mass to honor David Kerry, a longtime co-owner of Traditions Italian Restaurant and the Kerrymen Pub in Saco.

Mr. Kerry died on Sept. 22 after a 20-year battle with cancer. He was 77.

He was remembered Thursday as a respected businessman and dedicated community leader who sought to make a difference in the world.

Mr. Kerry opened the Kerrymen Pub in 1978 with his three brothers and a cousin.

Mr. Kerry took on various roles such as public relations and booking bands. Many of those bands, including Schooner Fare, still play at Kerrymen Pub today.

John Kerry, his younger brother, said Schooner Fare is expected to play at Mr. Kerry’s funeral. John Kerry laughed Thursday recalling the way his brother would greet patrons.


“David used to sit at the end of the bar. He would get up and hug and kiss every woman that walked through the door. He shook every guy’s hand,” he said, laughing. “He was such an affectionate and outgoing guy. He was extremely charming.”

Mr. Kerry was the “visionary” behind Traditions Restaurant, which opened around 2000. He owned and operated the business with his brother Richard Kerry and two friends.

John Kerry noted his brother’s generosity. He said he helped many employees who were having difficulty in their lives.

“He was very unselfish in the giving of himself to others. He helped many people,” he said.

Mr. Kerry’s service to others was a theme throughout his life.

In his early years, Kerry was a history teacher and assistant football coach at Thornton Academy. He helped lead the Trojans to a state championship in 1962. He went on to teach and coach in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, before moving back to Saco in 1972 when he began teaching history and coaching football at Biddeford High School.


His brother said he loved helping students succeed in and out of the classroom.

“He saw history as a guide to help people fulfill their potential,” he said. “He taught in the classroom and sat on a bar stool and taught. He was always teaching everyone.”

Mr. Kerry went on to serve several years in the Maine State Senate. His obituary, which was published on Sept. 25, said he forged lifelong relationships with political figures such as former Sen. George Mitchell, former governors Joseph Brennan and John Baldacci, and former Senate President Gerard Conley.

Kerry’s visiting hours on Tuesday drew roughly 1,000 people including Brennan, Baldacci, state senators, and community leaders.

“David was always very gracious and very open to good discussions and friendships with everyone,” his brother said.

In addition to his brothers, he is survived by three children, Jennifer Kerry, Kathryn Kerry and Seamus Kerry; and a granddaughter Chelsea Tarbox.

The funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Most Holy Trinity Church in Saco. Interment will follow at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Biddeford.


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