Dr. Kerry English, pediatrician, long time director of the pediatric division at Martin Luther King Hospital and board member for Ojai Playwrights Conference and Rogue Machine, passed away on April 27, 2020, of complications of ALS. A board member for several nonprofit family and child support organizations, he was also a well-known Los Angeles theatre and arts aficionado. He was committed to caring for children and engaging with diverse communities throughout his life. His long-term relationships testify to his belief in diversity and inclusion. Kerry was 74 years old.
Raised in Southern California, Kerry spent his life as a mainstay for the medical and theatre/arts communities of Los Angeles. In addition to those mentioned, he served on the boards for 24th Street Theatre, Cornerstone Theater, Secret City and the Watts Towers Arts Center. His passion for the arts manifested not only in his board memberships, but in his consistent presence at theatre and music events and openings across the city, where he and his wife Olga Garay-English have been an oft seen duo.
Theatre leaders in Los Angeles expressed their admiration for Kerry and his support for their work:
OPC Artistic Director Robert Egan said, “Kerry English was the most avid, enthusiastic, committed, engaged audience member for new work in all its many stages of development that I have ever met. And Kerry was generous in his response to the artists and their work.”
Playwrights’ Arena Artistic Director Jon Lawrence Rivera said, “Kerry has been a huge supporter of Playwrights' Arena for decades, as well as countless other L.A. theatres. I've said this many times to him over the years, ‘I wish there were more people like you who simply loved theatre.”
Throughout his life and career as a pediatrician and teacher, Kerry worked with and supported diverse and disadvantaged communities. He was medical director of the King Foster Care HUB Clinic in Watts, director of the Child Development Division of the Pediatric Department of Drew University of
Medicine and Science, and the Pediatric Department of the King/Drew Medical Center, where he worked for over 40 years.
His colleague Dr. Jasmine Eugenio wrote of him, “Dr. English was one of the lead physicians of Bridges Global Missions. He was instrumental in providing care to thousands of patients in numerous villages in Haiti and the Philippines. In addition to his contributions as a physician, he generously provided financial support for medical supplies, medications, safe water and food distribution. His generosity was matched only by his kind spirit, one that was eager to serve. He was a well-loved and highly respected member of the team.”
He taught at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, as well as his medical alma mater UCLA. He did fellowships at Yale Child Study Center and King’s College London. His undergraduate studies were at Washington University in St. Louis.
Kerry served on the board and as chair of Drew Child Development Corporation, an organization dedicated to the education and well-being of at- risk children; and on the boards of El Nido Family Centers, an agency that provides support services to disadvantaged communities; and SHIELDS for Families, serving high-risk families in South Los Angeles.
He is survived by his wife, Olga Garay-English, an Independent Arts Consultant and former Executive Director of the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, and his children Jena English, Gavin English, Mark Conley and grandson Pharoah Clay.
Information provided by https://www.caringbridge.org/public/kerryenglish.
Every single time over the last 35 years when I had a thorny question about a case – whether it was an abused kid who killed a parent or a boy molested by his teacher, I knew I could pick up the phone and call Kerry almost any time of the day or night day. I have worked with untold numbers of docs during my career and Kerry stood out because of his immense heart. There was never ever a problem he did not want to tackle and he ALWAYS had the interests of the child as his first priority. And his knowledge was beyond vast. I would frequently get him while he was in the middle of a 100 other responsibilities but his heart always drive him to want to help. He was a stand-out human being who was a true child advocate. We all owe him our profound thanks for what he has done for generations of kids.
- Paul Mones
Kind, sweet, funny, committed.
He was a wonder and I am so sorry about his passing.
I encountered him first as a CSW over 30 years ago at DCFS. I worked closely with him at ICAN in 2006-2009.
I learned a lot from him but he was also a joy to hang out with at meetings and conferences.
What a mensch, Kerry. Rest in Peace.
- Mary Nichols
I hope there are people like Dr. English who will run with the torch addressing children In custody case issues. My heart jumped for joy when he came up to me in that first meeting with his own concerns.
The world is losing a good one.
- Sandy Ross
Losing Kerry was a great loss and from personal experience with my best friend…ALS is a terrible way to go.
- Neil Kaufman, MD
That is just so sad. What a dear, dear man!
- Terry Decresenzo
Oh no, this is devastating, so very sad…..
- Jennifer A. Lopez
My sincere condolences.
- Leticia Gomez
Very sad news about Kerry. Thank you for letting us know.
- Richard Ruiz
Thank you for sending this wonderful tribute.
- Donna Pence
He will be missed for all the good work he did and all the children he saved. 💙
- Elaine Trebek Kares
So sorry to hear about Kerry.
- Clayton Kazan, MD
I did not have the privilege of meeting Dr. Kerry. Your description of such a dedicated professional lets me know he was an amazing man by all the lives he touched. The world of medicine and child welfare has a tremendous loss. My condolences and prayers go out to family and loved ones.
- Leticia Ortiz Gonzalez