Kerry Douglas’ roots run deep in the Bolivar community. “I was born to Elvin S. and Florence Douglas in 1946,” he said. “Our family home was the two-story house that sits across the street from Bolivar City Hall.” In addition to his parents, Kerry’s family included one brother, Elvin S. Douglas, Sr. (now deceased) and one sister, Ellen Rose Roweton. A 1964 Bolivar High School (BHS) graduate, Douglas participated in concert band, jazz band, marching band and track. As for a teacher who made an indelible impression on his life, he said, “Miss Margaret Chiles, English 4. She taught me the writing skills that I have used to my advantage throughout life. I will forever be grateful for her teaching skills.”
Kerry married his high school sweetheart, Synda L. Kelsey in 1968. Together they have two sons, Thomas H. Douglas and K. Patrick Douglas. Both sons are BHS graduates, 1992 and 1994 respectively. In 2008, after 40 years of marriage Synda died after battling breast cancer for 13.5 years. Kerry remarried Synda’s identical twin sister Lynda and they will celebrate 10 years of marriage in August of 2019. Kerry has six wonderful grandchildren.
The vision for community growth is a gift Kerry Douglas is sharing now and with future generations of Bolivar students through the Bolivar Educational Advancement Foundation (BEAF). Douglas, the founder and president of BEAF since its inception in 1991, designed the foundation to support the Bolivar R-1 school district educate and prepare students for the future. By supporting the school district financially through classroom grants, capital improvements, educational programs, scholarships and athletics, more than $1 million has been gifted to Bolivar R-1 Schools since 1991. Annually, BEAF issues $40,000 in scholarships to assist students with college tuition, room and board, books, supplies and other educational costs. With the high cost of college, Kerry and the BEAF Board believe anything they can do to help reduce the burden of the cost of college and help students prepare for their future careers by reducing student loan debt is a good thing.
After a career in law that spanned more than 40 years, Kerry is now “of-counsel” at the law firm of Douglas, Haun and Heidemann. In his case, “of-counsel” means he’s still associated with the firm and works when he chooses to do so!
Kerry, thank you for your vision for BEAF. The work you and others have done and continue to do has and will impact Bolivar and Missouri for many generations!