Ryan “Chip” James Kerker, 43, died peacefully with family by his side on October 31, 2021. Born April 7, 1978, in Sterling, Colorado to parents John and Carole (Getz) Kerker, Chip and his family resided in Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana before eventually settling in Friendswood, Texas. A 1997 Friendswood High School graduate, Chip excelled in athletics, especially football, and formed lifelong connections and friendships. Following graduation, he attended college while working for his father’s offshore oil and gas company, Gunn Wireline, in Alvin, Texas.
In 1999, Chip relocated to College Station and discovered a trade he loved. At Britt Rice Electric, he began working with low-voltage electricity, eventually becoming a licensed fire detection and suppression specialist. It was also during this time that he reconnected with his love and soulmate, Juliana Cruz. The two were married in Belize on January 8, 2007.
Chip and Juli returned to the Houston area in 2004, where Chip was a contractor with high-security clearance for NASA’s Johnson Space Center. He moved on to Detection Suppression International (DSI), who applauded his work ethic and entrusted him to troubleshoot and install systems for clients such as Google in several locations across the United States. He later transferred to Austin, Texas to take a position with Western States Fire Protection (WSFP).
Austin is where Chip and Juli started their family and welcomed two beautiful daughters, Daniela Evelyn and Isidra Elise. Chip loved being a “girl dad,” and his girls were the light of his life. He was an active, hands-on parent, whether painting his daughter’s nails or teaching them how to work on his old square-body Chevy truck. Chip was a well-loved visitor at the girls’ elementary school, where he helped at various odd jobs, including (but not limited to) unloading crates of donated produce for the Brighter Bites community program and keeping the aquarium functional and the fish well-fed. For Chip, Juli and the girls always came first.
In 2013 Chip left WSFP to launch Kerker Solutions. There was truly nothing he could not build or fix with his hands, his determination, or his brain. His natural gifts allowed him to focus his business on new construction, remodeling, fencing, welding, and other contracting services. Chip’s creative and artistic heart led him to master many crafts, trades, and projects throughout his short life, including custom boot making and leather work. If he didn’t know how to do something, he researched, tinkered, and experimented until he figured it out.
In August 2020, Chip was diagnosed with cancer. He fought hard for the next 15 months and put forth excruciating efforts to keep his cancer from interrupting his creative and rich life. He built the girls a treehouse in between treatments, continued to help neighbors and friends with various household projects, and finally convinced Juli to drive across the country in an RV—soaring over the Grand Canyon on a helicopter tour and careening down the slopes of White Sands made for precious and treasured family memories. A man of few words, Chip showed his friends and family how he felt about them, and did so up until his last breath.
Chip is missed by so many family members and friends. Preceding him in death are his grandparents, Rich and Thelma Getz and John and Dorothy Kerker (Sterling, Colorado); great uncle, COL Edward L. Kerker (San Antonio, TX); paternal aunt, Pamela (Kerker) Cabala (Fort Collins, CO). Chip is very sadly missed by his beloved wife, Juliana Cruz Kerker, and their daughters Daniela and Isidra Kerker (Austin, TX); parents, Carole and John Kerker (New Braunfels, TX); sister, J.J. and brother-in-law P.J. Saidler (Humble, TX); nephews and niece, J.R., J.W., and L.E. Saidler (Humble, TX); extended family, Jodi and Kyle Eastham (Windsor, CO). He is also missed by many aunts, uncles, cousins, and a plethora of wonderful lifelong friends.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Hospice Austin or Wonders & Worries. A fund has also been created for the enrichment and support of his young daughters, Daniela and Isi (ages 8 and 5 respectively).