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Thursday, February 29, 2024
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William J. Berry

On the afternoon of March 8, 2023 with an old hymn of the faith playing in the background William J. Berry of Silver Bay passed peacefully to his eternal home. He was surrounded by wonderful staff of the MN Vet’s Home who cared and kept him company until it was time for him to leave his home of 5 years.

Bill was born on December 13, 1926 to Lloyd and Gladys (Rice) Berry of Vinton, IA where he grew up and attended schools. Many conversations during his 5 years of residence at the Vet’s Home were about Vinton; his memory on that topic was keen.

Bill enjoyed music and played the piano even up to a few days before his passing. He loved fixing things, building various electronic devices including a television, and spent many productive hours in his shop.

Bill left his senior year of high school before graduation day in 1945 to enlist in the Army Air Force. Upon his discharge he attended Bethel College in St. Paul, where he met Patricia Carlson. They married on June 23, 1948. His education continued at Bethel College, and also at Wheaton where he and Pat lived until 1949. In 1952 Bill had the opportunity to go to Babbitt, MN for the first ever Vacation Bible School. He would return to Babbitt 5 years later as pastor of the Babbitt Baptist Church. This came after serving as youth pastor at Central Baptist in St. Paul (during which time his daughter was born) and at the Baptist Temple in Bridgeport, CT. As the work of the first full time pastor began so did the building of a new church and a new parsonage. In 1962 the Berry’s moved from Babbitt to serve at Lake Spenard Baptist Church in Anchorage, Alaska – Bill was the pastor there arriving just months after the 1964 Good Friday earthquake.

After leaving Anchorage Bill spent many years working in various social services. This included time in Orange City, IA during the years 1966 through 1990. Both of his sons were born in Orange City. His retirement years were spent in Silver Bay where he has resided since 1990.

Bill is preceded in death by his parents, his wife Pat in 2015 and his brother Mar-shall in 2008. He is survived by his 3 children – daughter, Linda (Kevin) Meissner of Osseo, MN; sons, David (Tara) Berry of Kaukauna, WI and Dana (Katrina) Berry of Elgin, IL; six grandchildren – Ben Meissner, Morgan and Caden Berry, Douglas, August, and Melody Berry; and two great-grandchildren, Ellalena and Avalyn Meissner.

Visitation will be from 10 a.m. until the 11 a.m. funeral service on March 20 at First Baptist Church in Two Harbors. Burial with military honors will follow at Lakeview Cemetery. To share your memories or condolences online please visit www.caval-linfuneralhome.com .

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