Merced Sun-Star (Saturday) - - News -

Grant John Berry was born and raised in San Fran­cisco. He at­tended pub­lic schools, in­clud­ing Galileo High School, where he par­tic­i­pated in track & field and foot­ball. At 19, he en­listed in the Ma­rine Corps. He en­tered the War in the Pa­cific dur­ing WWII, where he was in­volved in three ma­jor cam­paigns, in­clud­ing en­gag­ing in com­bat in the bat­tle of Peleliu, which suf­fered a higher ca­su­alty rate than any other am­phibi­ous op­er­a­tion dur­ing the Pa­cific War.

Upon re­turn­ing state­side, Grant at­tended the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley, on the GI Bill. In 1948 he grad­u­ated summa cum laude with an AB in Hu­man­i­ties, em­pha­siz­ing his­tory and art. In 1951 he re­ceived his Mas­ter of Arts de­gree in His­tory, the achieve­ment of which he said he was most proud in his life. His Masters’ the­sis was on events lead­ing up to the Ca­pit­u­la­tion of Cor­regi­dor. He also com­pleted re­quire­ments for his pre­lim­i­nary teach­ing cre­den­tial and re­ceived his com­mis­sion from the Ma­rine Corps.

While at Cal, he met and mar­ried Claire Aldrich of Sacra­mento. They were to­gether for 30 years. Their plans for get­ting on with their lives were cir­cum­vented by the Korean War, in which Grant, as an of­fi­cer, was once again en­gaged in com­bat.

Upon re­turn­ing from Korea, they set­tled in Merced, where they built a house with a CalVet loan and raised a daugh­ter. He taught at Merced High School (and the short-lived El Cap­i­tan High,’59-’62) for 30 years, teach­ing U.S. His­tory and the Cal­i­for­nia Cadet Corps.

Grant was in the Ma­rine Corps for 40 years. While not on ac­tive duty dur­ing the wars, he was in the Re­serves. Though re­ceiv­ing or­ders to re­port to sev­eral bases through­out the years, the fam­ily pri­mar­ily spent three months of each year liv­ing at Camp Pendle­ton, where Grant taught at Of­fi­cer Train­ing School. He was proud to re­tire as a “full­bird” colonel. He was 6’1”, with long limbs, and big feet and hands. He stayed trim and fit through­out his life and was said to have the “best pos­ture in the busi­ness.” One sum­mer, while sta­tioned at Twen­ty­nine Palms in his 40’s, he threw a javelin so far as to ri­val Olympic ath­letes, that the Ma­rine’s painted the javelin gold and pre­sented it to him.

In the mid-1970’s, Grant met Dorothy Cooke of Marin County through ac­tiv­i­ties at Cal. Af­ter a sev­eral-year courtship, they were mar­ried. They were to­gether for 40 years un­til her pass­ing last year. They lived in Merced for about a decade be­fore mov­ing to Peb­ble Beach, where they lived for many years be­fore mov­ing to Mon­terey. They en­joyed trav­el­ing to Great Bri­tain and were avid at­ten­dees at Cal foot­ball games.

Grant painted through­out his life, start­ing in the cu­bist style, then later tran­si­tion­ing to more ab­stract forms. He en­joyed lis­ten­ing to Stan Getz and An­to­nio Car­los Jo­bim. He loved old movies and had an en­cy­clo­pe­dic knowl­edge of ev­ery film and ac­tor in the in­dus­try from the 1930’s through the 1970’s. He was an ex­tro­vert who loved talk­ing to strangers, fre­quently telling them that what­ever they were about to in­gest or pur­chase at the su­per­mar­ket was “good for your eye­brows.” He had a quirky sense of hu­mor that he re­tained un­til the very end, his fi­nal years be­ing spent in his home­town of San Fran­cisco.

His cre­mated re­mains were spread in the Her­itage Eu­ca­lyp­tus For­est on the grounds of the Pre­sidio in San Fran­cisco. He re­ceived full mil­i­tary hon­ors, in­clud­ing a three-vol­ley sa­lute, the play­ing of taps by a lone bu­gler, and the cer­e­mo­nial fold­ing of the flag and pre­sen­ta­tion of it to his daugh­ter by a Ma­rine Corps colonel. A memo­rial lun­cheon fol­lowed at a nearby Ital­ian restau­rant at­tended by mem­bers of his fam­ily, his step-fam­ily, and their friends. He is sur­vived by his daugh­ter, Char­maine Berry, and his grand­son, Valon Be­rig­inn, both of Wal­nut Creek. He will be missed.


Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.