Robert Max Berry Sr. of Moscow died January 30, 2016 at Kootenai Health in Coeur d’ Alene, ID . He was 82.
Robert Max Berry Sr. was born at home on May, 14, 1933 in Spirit Lake Idaho. He was the 5th child of Francis Gardner Berry and Sarah Frances Stith Berry. Dad had 3 sisters, Doris, Joyce and Lorraine and 1 brother Frank. All have preceded him in death. Beloved Son Robert Max Berry Jr. passed away in 1988.
My father graduated from Spirit Lake High school where most of his boyhood was spent. He worked in many different jobs: The Silver mine, Kaiser Aluminum, saw mills, selling Fuller Brush,door to door and as a Singer Sewing machine repairman. But it was his first law enforcement job as a desk sergeant that really stuck with him.
When he was in his early 20’s, he moved to California to live with his brother Frank and his wife. There he attended San Bernardino State college and studied music. He told me about experiencing his first earthquake there. Dad was a very accomplished pianist. He could play anything on the piano and organ. He was also a drummer and played briefly in a jazz band while living in San Francisco. Dad and Mom (Marjorie Irene Becklund) eloped and were married on April 7, 1956 in Superior Montana. They had a 2nd wedding on March 25, 1956 in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho. Our parents were married for 52 years. Our beloved Mom passed away on March 11, 2009. Dad was never the same after that day. He told me that losing Mom was like losing his right arm.
Dad liked helping people. He graduated from the Washington State Police Academy and went on to WSU and the U of I to study Criminal Justice. He worked as a deputy sheriff and police officer in Washington, Idaho and California for over 25 years. He once had a job in the Marshall Islands in Kwajalein guarding a US Army missile base. He told me that is where he passed his first kidney stone!
In 1975 Dad and Mom took off in their new vocation as Best Western motel inspectors. The job took them to nearly all of the United States and the provinces of Canada. They loved to travel. Dad served as the Lions Club President in Troy, Idaho and Yakima, Washington. He was a Boy Scout leader. He coached little league baseball. He and Mom briefly owned and ran a motel in Yakima. His interest and involvement in politics was highly active. Dad was a staunch Democrat and he was very opinionated about the current political climate, let alone the environmental one.
Not only was he musically gifted, he liked to carve and whittle and made small statues and wooden walking sticks for family and friends. Dad was a storyteller. And if you had a little bit of time to spare, he would have a joke or two for you.
Dad slipped away on January 30, 2016 at Kootenai Memorial Hospital surrounded by family. At the height of his disease, his true character came through. His integrity, grit and bravery at his passing were much like the virtues he possessed as a peace officer. Dad never faltered nor complained but instead continued his struggle to breathe with each beat of his broken heart.
The day of his passing our family went to the chapel to find strength and to make decisions. The Daily Word has been a comfort to my Sister and me so we read the passage for January 30, It read: I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. ~Psalm 32:8
Surviving family members are daughter’s Mickey (Mike) Chamberlain of Moscow, Jackie K. Stirm of Lodi, California. Grandchildren: Davin, Rebecca, Dillon, Austin, Tyler, Spencer, Max III, and Arielle. Great Grandchildren: Liam, Wallace, Veronica and Regan.
Dad and Mom will be inurned at the Medical Lake Veterans Cemetery. A celebration of their lives will occur at a later date.
“You only live once, but if you work it right, once is enough” Joe E. Lewis
We love you Dad, way up to the sky and beyond!