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Derry marksmanship coach took pride in pupils

Jeff Himler
| Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017, 12:00 p.m.

Marksman Anthony Kerin set lofty goals for himself, his children and hundreds of others he mentored in the skill — and his aim was true.

“In the marksmanship world, you're coaching kids that eventually are going to shoot better than you,” said his daughter, Toni Dimatteo. “He was so humble about that. He was very proud of everybody he coached and mentored.”

Mr. Kerin coached marksmanship teams at Blairsville High School in the 1970s and others affiliated with the Army National Guard, with which he served for 34 years.

“He had a youthful spirit, a lot of energy and enthusiasm. It definitely went to everybody that he coached. They fed off it,” said Dimatteo, who noted that she and three siblings “followed his path, and we made our careers in the military as well.”

Mr. Anthony J. Kerin, 78, of Derry Township died Oct. 24, 2017, after suffering a heart attack while on a hunting trip in Montana. He was born Nov. 19, 1938, in Derry Township, a son of the late George and Nellie Kerin.

He retired from the National Guard in 1992 after serving as a staff sergeant with its marksmanship training center at Fort Indiantown Gap. He was a group leader at the Industrial Ceramics Inc. plant in Derry Borough and later worked at Angles Inc. in Derry Township.

During Mr. Kerin's retirement, son David said, “He started refinishing furniture for people. I don't know that he actually charged anybody. He just enjoyed seeing a smile on someone's face.”

Mr. Kerin, Toni and David were members of the International Combat Rifle Team when it won the 1990 international Centennial combat rifle competition in Bisley, England.

In individual shooting events, Mr. Kerin topped a field of about 500 twice to win the All Army Championship at Fort Benning, Ga., and he earned the Army Distinguished Rifleman Badge.

He enjoyed hunting, fishing, gardening, collecting arrowheads and helped with an archaeological dig near the Youghiogheny River. He belonged to the National Rifle Association, the Pennsylvania Rifle and Pistol Association, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the Westmoreland Archaeological Society and its state-level parent organization.

In addition to his parents, Mr. Kerin was preceded in death by his wife, Helen, in 1997.

He is survived by three sons, David and his wife, Bianca, of Indiana, Mark and his wife, Karen, of Hillside, and Roger and his wife, Cheryl, of Derry; daughter Toni Dimatteo and her husband, Norman, of Gray Station; eight grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

Friends will be received 5-8 p.m. Sunday in the Matthew X. Merlin Funeral Home, 529 N. Chestnut St., Derry, where a service will be held at 12:30 p.m. Monday. Interment will be in St. Joseph Cemetery.

Memorial donations may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, KS 66675 or support.woundedwarriorproject.org.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6622, jhimler@tribweb.com or via Twitter @jhimler_news.

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