BERRY, Thomas Kerr (Tom)
Tom died peacefully at his home in Victoria on August 17, 2011 after a wonderfully full life and at the grand age of 101. He was predeceased in 2008 by Fran, his wife of nearly 60 years.
Born in New Westminster July 22, 1910, Tom was the son of John W. and Lydia Berry, Langley farm pioneers. He was the youngest of seven siblings, now all deceased, who collectively made a remarkable contribution to British Columbia.
Tom was proud to have been a dairy farmer for most of his life, and until 1950 was part of the family farm in Langley. Then, after stops in Nicola and Giscome, in 1956 Tom and Fran settled on their dairy farm in the Comox Valley, where Fran was a much-loved Public Health nurse and where they lived until moving to Victoria in 2002.
Tom followed a family tradition rich in service within the agriculture sector and the broader community. He was a 4-H leader in Langley, and again in the Comox Valley. A progressive advocate and leader in the dairy industry, he served on many industry boards and committees. He was the founding president of the BC Artificial Insemination Centre (now Westgen), president of the BC Holstein Association and for many years was active in the Vancouver Island dairy industry and the BC Federation of Agriculture. Upon retiring from most farm organization work, he entered local politics, serving six years as a well-respected Director of the Comox- Strathcona Regional District.
Tom brought to discussions a sharp and inquisitive mind, and a wide range of knowledge and interests. Accepting and non-judgemental, he easily engaged people of all ages and had a special affinity for the young. He weathered well the challenges and limitations of aging, retaining his positive personality and sense of humour to the end.
He is survived by son John (Pat) in Burnaby, daughter Liz (Gorden) Kifiak in Victoria, grandchildren Mark and Kevin Berry and Brian and Sarah Kifiak, and a wide extended family.
Celebration of Life 2:00 PM, September 10 at Comox United Church, 250 Beach Drive, Comox. Reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, donations to the BC 4-H Foundation or a charity of your choice would be appreciated.