Jack Kerins was born in Farrell, March 30, 1912 to Thomas H. and Kathryn M. Kerins. Jack graduated from Farrell High School in 1929 and gained employment at the Former Gulf Gas Station in Farrell. Eventually he ended up owning the station and managed two other stations for the Gulf Company.He met his future wife on the front steps of Our Lady of Fatima Church and after his stint in World War II he returned to marry Mary Louise Hickey on October 23, 1947 in Clarendon, PA.
Jack served three years in WWII in the United States Army, 22 months of that time in the European Theater with the 63rd Infantry Division and the 1st Military Government Battalion. He was awarded the Silver Star, the highest award for bravery, the Purple Heart and a battlefield commission to a Lieutenant. He participated as an infantryman in the Rhineland, Central Europe and the Ardennes-Alsace Campaigns and received the American Campaign Medal, the EAME medal with three bronze stars, and the Army of Occupation Medal/German Clasp. He was instrumental in liberating the Landsburg concentration camp.
Jack was very proud of his military service and in 1966 took his family on a tour of the old battlegrounds of France and Germany at which time he located the exact position of a foxhole that he took cover in for 14 days in the countryside of a small town in Germany.
After his honeymoon to the Grand Canyon and a trip to California, Jack decided he was still a small town person and returned to Farrell with his new bride. They had heard the local golf course was for sale and found out that no bank would loan them any money to buy a golf course because there was no future in golf. George Sawhill sold Tam O’Shanter Golf Course to Jack and Mary Lou in November 1947 and loaned them the money himself. After struggling for two years to make expenses they took the risk on the advice of his friend Johnny Pepe, longtime sports editor of the Sharon Herald, and hired Sam Snead to put on an 18 exhibition at the course. It proved successful and encouraged new golfers to take up the game. Snead returned two years later for an encore. Jack also had may other famous golfers of the time to promote the game and the course. He was very proud and encouraged women and juniors to play with special programs. He started one of the oldest junior tournaments in the! country, now known as the Herald Tam O’Shanter Junior Championship that is 62 years old and still running.
In honor of his 90th birthday his family started the Jack Kerins Scholarship Fund that honors local student/golfers with college scholarships. Jack was a Life member of the PGA and the second oldest living PGA member. He was a PGA Quarter Century Club member and was elected to the Tri-State PGA Hall of Fame. He was also honored to be elected into the American Golf Hall of Fame at Foxburg in 1994. The Mercer County Hall of Fame enshrined him in 1987. He was a charter member and founder and former President of the Northwest PA Golf Course Superintendents Association.
In 1968 he was the Man of the Year by the Shenango Valley Jaycees and the Professional of the Year by the YDAIGA. Jack was honored as Irishman of the Year in 2002 by the Ancient Order of the Hibernians. He was a member and one of the founders of the Church of the Good Shepherd in West Middlesex where he served on the parish council and finance council and was a past President of the Holy Name Society. He was a former Boy Scout Chairman of Troop 60 and was recipient of the Boy Scout Award and the St. George Boy Scout Award. Jack was a member of the VFW Post 5286, American Legion Post 160, both Farrell; Life member of the Disabled American Veterans Post 55; the National Order of Battlefield Commissions; Sharon Elks Lodge 103; and Knights of Columbus 684, Sharon. He was a charter member of the former Shenango Valley Jaycees, the Shenango Valley Chamber of Commerce, former member of the Hermitage Businessmen Assoc., former member of the McDowell Bank Advisory Board, former Vice President of the Catholic Charities Board, and the Mercer County Historical Society.
Jack loved to travel with his family and enjoyed every day of his life. His trips to Ireland and Scotland with his family to sightsee and golf were very special to him. He enjoyed telling stories of his rounds on the “Old Course’ at St. Andrews.