To Mary's family, I have such fond memories of Mary growing up. She was a sweet, amazing woman whom I thought of often over the years. I am happy that she is now reunited with Howard. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.
So Grandma wrote her own obituary, which was very helpful to her family. For those who want more than just the Mary Berry facts, here's a sweet write-up that Aunt Linda crafted when Grandma entered the nursing home. This piece was framed and posted outside Mary's room so that others might get to know this special woman. Enjoy!
Mary June (Pederson) Berry—Tootie to family and friends—was born June 1, 1926. Mary was the sixth of eight children. She grew up on a farm east of Iowa City and attended school in a one-room schoolhouse through eighth grade before joining her older sister Esther in town at U-High (University of Iowa High School).
One day, Esther mentioned to Mary that she had seen a cute boy with curly red hair reading intently in a corner of the school library. As fate would have it, Howard Paul Berry, that very same red-haired young man, would make Mary his wife on February 17, 1945.
Mary has three children, Linda, Steven, and Susan; four grandchildren, Chad, Christopher, Deanna, and Dana; and five great-grandchildren, Burke, Cale, Alise, Mardie, and Audrey.
For over 40 years, Mary could be found on the farm southeast of Iowa City, helping her husband with chores, feeding hired farmhands, and earning fun money of her own by selling milk from their dairy cows and eggs from her chickens. She did all this while lovingly watching over family and friends.
Not every hour of the day was work for Mary. Often she would stop in the afternoons to have coffee with a neighbor lady, and sometimes one of Mary’s sisters or another neighbor would join them. Over time, Mary’s coffee breaks grew into a monthly club of 12 young housewives who visited, laughed, and shared their stories around kitchen tables. After more than 65 years, this club is now in its second generation.
Through the years, Mary enjoyed traveling around the country with her husband. They were always accompanied by another couple, be it family or close friends. Many of their trips centered on Hawkeye bowl games. Mary was not a big fan of the game itself, but the trips offered the experience of the world beyond the farm. Mary loved telling that she had been to all the contiguous states except, she’d add sadly, North Dakota.
If asked about her life’s hobbies, she would happily list them for you: