Marie Berry

Thursday, April 15, 2010
Marie Berry

Marie Berry, daughter of the late George and Rosa Wallace Harris was born Aug. 9, 1911, in Octa, Mo., and passed away Tuesday, April 13, 2010, at National HealthCare in Kennett, at the age of 98.

She married Roy Berry on Aug. 18, 1934. He preceded her in death on May 5, 1982. She was also preceded in death by five sisters, Vera Harris, Ura Fuzzell, Straudie Manley, Bess Estes and Vera Cummins, and five brothers, Fred, Joe, Edwin, Paul and G.C. Harris.

Survivors include one daughter, Rose Marie, who was born May 22, 1945, in Cape Girardeau, Mo., and her husband, Ben Glasco, of Memphis, Tenn.; one granddaughter, Danielle Pfeil; two great-grandchildren, Brandon and Leanne; two nephews, Albert Estes, of St. Louis, Mo., and Dr. James Fuzzell, of Pennsylvania; five nieces, Eleanor Dalton, of Kennett, Phyllis Parker, of Senath, Mo., Latina Robinson, of New Orleans, La., Dorothy Starz, of St. Louis, and Betty Kirkpatrick, of Terrel, Texas, and a sister-in-law, Zelma Harris, of Senath.

Marie Taught school for 34 years, 25 of those years in Senath and Senath-Hornersville School.

She was a graduate of Kennett High School in 1929. After attending Southeast Missouri State College two years, she earned a certificate to teach elementary school. Her first position was at Octa (a consolidation of Senath). She taught there for three years and then resigned and was married to Roy Berry of Zalma, Mo. At that time he was superintendent of Zalma Schools. A teacher resigned and Marie took her place. She taught there for three years. Roy and Marie attended summer school at Missouri University. Marie taught at Zalma, Bragg City, and Kennett, but 25 years was spent in Senath, and Senath-Hornersville Schools.

A quotation from a Senath-Hornersville Administration Principal, "Throughout the years she proved to be a very capable Building Principal. She was a second grade teacher at that time. Her last eight years, she was elementary and junior high counselor. Her office was in the Junior High School at Hornersville. All these roles were performed with dedication, quality, and efficiently.

During World War II, Marie served as dental assistant at Army Base, Scott Field, Ill. Her husband Roy Berry was teaching in the Radar School on the base. After the war ended, they returned to the family farm in the Octa community.

Marie didn't teach for 11 years, but was very active in community activities: Octa-Austin Extension Club, served as president for two terms, Girl Scout leader, Worthy Matron of Eastern Star at Senath, Senath Women's Club, Secretary of Dunklin County Extension Clubs, sustaining member of the Cotton Producers, made and modeled cotton garments in Cotton Style Shows at Kennett, Senath, and Paragould. All these activities scatter from 1943 to 1954.

Honors she received were: 1989-received National Award from Association of Retired Persons; 1996-Community Service Award from Bootheel Retired Teachers; 2001-MO R.T.A. announced "Bootheel Teacher of the Year"; 2006-named Honorary Member with paid up dues for Longevity of Service by two organizations, Retired Teacher and Delta Kappa (teachers sorority); 2007-received flowers at District R.T.A. at Poplar Bluff meeting for 30 years service; 2007-Grand Marshall of Senath Christmas Parade, Citation of Bootheel Teachers for 14 years as treasurer.

The Berry family, Roy, Marie, and Rose Marie, were all teachers, and all held Masters Degrees. Rose Marie was a Reading Specialist and Roy was a Math and Science Major, plus an administrator; was a director of Dunklin County Instructional Materials Center in Kennett for eight years, retired in 1974. After retirement, Mr. and Mrs. Berry kept Dunklin County Museum open to the public on Wednesday afternoons. Marie earned her Masters Degree in Counseling in 1968. She commuted to Arkansas State University at Jonesboro, nights, Saturdays and summer school while teaching. After retiring in 1976, Marie and sister-in-law, Zelma Harris, bought tours and traveled. Marie has visited 47 states, including two weeks in Hawaii, and two weeks in Alaska.

Marie has been an active member of the Church of Christ since she was a teenager.

Visitation will begin at 1 p.m., and continue until service time.

Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m., Friday, April 16, at the Church of Christ in Senath with Art Smith and Jody McFadden officiating.

Burial will follow in the Memorial Gardens at Kennett.

Pallbearers are Charles Parker, Doug Robinson, Greg Harris, Steve Harris, Patrick Williamson, Corky Dalton, John David Raines, Harold Lee Watson, and Byron Small.

McDaniel Funeral Home of Senath is in charge of arrangements.