John Calvin Berry

Published 10:15 am Thursday, November 14, 2013

Funeral services for John Calvin Berry of Hattiesburg are 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 16, at St. Paul United Methodist Church, 215 E. Fifth St., in Hattiesburg. R.E. Tyler Funeral Home Inc. in Brookhaven is in charge of services.

Visitation is Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the church.

Dr. Berry, 88, died Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013, in Hattiesburg.

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He was born March 4, 1925, in Yazoo City to the late Rev. Riley Berry and Mrs. Jannie Louise Wilson Berry.

His early education occurred in the Brookhaven Black Public Schools where he attended elementary and secondary schools. His high school career, however, was interrupted by World War II, when he was drafted into the United States Army where he served two years with the European African Theatre Operations and was assigned to the 646 Quartermaster Truck Company.

In October 1945, he returned home to complete his senior year at Alexander High School in Brookhaven. He matriculated at Alcorn A&M College (now Alcorn University) at Lorman, receiving his Bachelor of Science Degree in 1949. He married the former Audrey Nell Levy, and they had six children.

Dr. Berry’s career in education began in 1949 and he served as a high school administrator for 17 years in Jones and Jefferson counties. He later accepted a position as associate director of a HEW Title IV program based at the University of Southern Mississippi.

In the fall of 1970, he was employed as an instructor of student teaching at the university. He was the first black faculty member to be employed at the University of Southern Mississippi. While at the University of Southern Mississippi, he completed his Specialist’s Degree in 1973 and his Doctoral Degree in 1976.

Dr. Berry’s educational career extended for more than three decades. He retired in 1985 as an associate professor of educational leadership and research.

Dr. Berry was an active member and administrative leader at St. Paul United Methodist Church. He served in various capacities.

Among some of his achievements and honors are: Charter member of Gamma Pi Chapter, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity (Alcorn State University). He was honored as the First Black Faculty member at the University of Southern Mississippi in February 1993.

He was also one of the first Alexander High School Legacy Hall of Honor recipients in 2006, and was one of 12 selected to participate on the Biracial Advisory Committee for Desegregation of the Hattiesburg Schools. He was also Faculty Advisor Undergraduate Chapter Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., University of Southern Mississippi.

He is preceded in death by his parents and one son, Bobby LaJohn Berry.

Survivors include his wife, Audrey Nell Levy Berry of Hattiesburg; one son, Daryl (Lure) Berry of Jackson; four daughters, Mary Alice (Michael) Bowser, Pass Christian, Barbara Jean (Henry) Anderson, Los Angeles, Calif., Patricia Elmira (Johnnie) Blake, Hattiesburg, and Cheryl Denise Berry-Smith, Gulfport; a daughter-in-law, Gloria Ward Berry, Tupelo; and a brother-in-law, German Levy, Jr. of Brookhaven. He is also survived by 11 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren and a host of cousins and friends.