Carl Melton Berry, beloved Husband, Father, Grandfather, Great Grandfather, Friend, Coach, Artist, Golfer, Christian and so much more, quietly slipped away at home in the arms of both his daughter and granddaughter in the evening of Wednesday April 5, 2023. He left this world much like he lived his life, with the same quiet, peaceful, strength that was consistent with his steadfast dedication to living his life with integrity, faith, and honor. He always strived to be his best, do his best, and give his best in everything he did. He was the rock of his family and of many of the organizations he was involved in.
He was born November 3, 1930, in Alva Oklahoma, the eldest of 2 children, to Carl L. and Eula F. Berry.
He is preceded in death by is wife of 67 years, Ellen Joyce Hughes Berry.
He is survived by his three children and their spouses, Mitch & Beth Berry, Carla & Willie Powell, Mike & Diane Berry; as well as 10 grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
He met the love of his life Ellen Joyce Hughes in high school. They were married at Fort Polk Louisiana in April 1951 prior to his deployment to Korea.
He served in the Oklahoma Army National Guard where he learned cartography (map making). He was called to active duty to serve in Inchon South Korea during the Korean conflict. Upon his return home from Korea, he enrolled in the fine arts program at Oklahoma State University. They settled in their hometown of Stillwater, OK where in June 1953 they had their first child Mitchell Alan. Carl later moved the family to Norman, Oklahoma and enrolled in the University of Oklahoma’s art program. They struggled financially and he hunted squirrels and rabbits to help make ends meet. He worked in the campus recreation center which had a bowling alley and pool hall where he set pins by hand and preformed any other odd tasks needed. Here he excelled at pool and bowling and considered possibly trying to become a professional bowler. He played briefly on the football team as a lineman under famed coach Bud Wilkinson. In June 1957, they had their 2nd child, Carla Jo.
He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art from the University of Oklahoma in May of 1957, and then went on to take additional graduate courses in art and personnel management.
His first career job was as a technical draftsman with Emerson Electric in St. Louis, Missouri. It was here that Carl became a Freemason, eventually becoming a 33rd degree mason. He was most proud of this accomplishment. This was an honor and responsibility that forged the principles of how he lived his life. He later worked at Boeing Aircraft where he finely tuned his technical illustration skills, and demonstrated an industrious work ethic by producing large volumes of high quality work. He was quickly promoted as a lead technical illustrator. In March 1961 they had their 3rd child Michael Leonard.
In 1962 Carl was hired by LTV space systems as a technical illustrator and relocated the family to the suburbs of Dallas. They helped to establish Trinity United Methodist church of Arlington Texas. In 1971 he relocated the family for the last time. He and Ellen settled in Biloxi, Mississippi where he worked in the technical training division of the United States Airforce at Keesler Air Force Base. Due to his unique abilities, he made supervisor quickly. During this time, he worked with & mentored, now famous artist Emmitt Thames. An accomplished artist in his own right, he gifted many of the dignitaries visiting the base with portraits he had drawn of them, some of which have been displayed in the Pentagon. Dad was a talented artist in all types of media and gave art lessons and life lessons to anyone interested.
He was a founding member of numerous churches in his life and was always willing to serve in whatever capacity was needed. He most recently enjoyed Christian fellowship as a member of the First United Methodist Church of Biloxi, serving in multiple rolls of leadership. He frequently shared his faith, not by preaching, but by actions. He shared with many a simple poem that meant so much to him, “I carry a Cross in my Pocket” and he included the gift of a cross for your pocket as a reminder. A man of True Integrity … he always did the right thing, not what was easy. He never even consciously “bent” the law or was contrary with others and was very gracious and patient with everyone. He was a man of strong faith.
He was always a classy guy, considerate and treated people well. He actively practiced the chivalrous gentleman's code of behavior, with courtesy and consideration, without fuss or reward. No curse words or road rage... ever. In fact, he was always the person to yield and let others by in traffic or by holding the door for the line that followed. He was never in a hurry, and never late of his own accord.
He and Ellen enjoyed their life together. They enjoyed travel, dancing of all kinds, including Ballroom, Round and Square Dancing. They were very active socially. They played in a bridge club and then later enjoyed hanging out with their “Skippo Group”. Carl loved being active in sports: Golf, Baseball, Football, Bowling, Pool, Swimming, Table Tennis, Fishing and Hunting (for survival). He was game for almost anything.
He was also an above average golfer, winning too many tournaments to count as well as multiple holes in one. A member of Sunkist Country Club for 40+ years, he was active in the senior golf program until just a few years ago. He was a natural instructor and coached many friends and strangers. He was always willing to give of his knowledge, talent and time where it was requested.
He was very articulate and excelled at simple conversation, whether serious or jovial, always quick to put people at ease, also asking thought provoking questions to get them to open up. He taught us that words matter. He had an English professor who criticized his poor vocabulary. He vowed to learn and spell a new word every day and was committed to becoming articulate. On more than one occasion he completely put a teacher/principal in their place, without raising his voice or using bad language. He could make his points when he needed to, but had a gentle, calm, supportive nature. He taught us about standing up for ourselves and using words effectively.
He was fiscally conservative but socially liberal. Growing up just after the depression both Dad and Mom were never wasteful and gave all of us lessons in frugality and the value of money. Still, he was always very generous with his money and time. He supported his mother and sister financially his entire adult life and he supported his children as young adults struggling to make it, whenever help was needed. Without being preachy, by example and discussion, he taught us tolerance, patience, perseverance, understanding and what it means to really help someone or something, selflessly.
He loved to putter about the house, fixing things, here and there…. always something to be done. He rarely just sat down to relax. Even on the golf course he was always improving something. He was perhaps one of the most industrious people I’ve ever known, but he also would never put something on to someone else. A definite perfectionist of his own labors…. but never forcing this on others.
In his last years he talked frequently about what a good life he had. He traveled and got to live the adventure of being married to the love of his life for 67 years. He had a successful work career and he was proud of his family. There was nothing he didn’t get to do. He was satisfied with a life well lived and he appreciated that he was more fortunate than most.
To us, he will always be the aspirational example of what it means to be a husband, father, and great human being, an example of what it means to be a responsible, considerate, caring person. He was always striving to better himself.
Perhaps his greatest gift may be instilling in us the desire to never stop trying to be the best version of ourselves.
We will miss him terribly & will always be grateful for the many gifts and lessons he gave us. We are all blessed to be part of his lasting legacy.
In lieu of flowers the family requests donations to your preferred charity, or that you have a tree planted in his name.
Arrangements have been made for an Inurnment at Biloxi National Cemetery on Friday, May 26, 2023, at 1:30 p.m. There will be a Celebration of Life on Saturday, May 27, 2023, at Sunkist Country Club. Visitation will be from 4:00 p.m. until the 5:00 p.m. service begins. Food and Fellowship will follow. We will conclude with the spreading of ashes at 7:00 p.m.
For additional information or to confirm attendance, please contact Carla Powell at email@example.com. Please come and help us celebrate the of an amazing human, Carl Berry.
Riemann Family Funeral Home, West Jackson County, served the family.