James C Berry, 88, passed away peacefully at home in University Place, WA on October 30, 2020. Jim was born in Yakima, WA on June 23, 1932 to Byron and Lucile Berry and lived in the Bremerton/Olympia/University Place area most of his life. He graduated from Bremerton High School in 1950 where he met Darlene Lund, the love of his life for over 70 years. Survivors include their daughters Lynette (Kevin) Griffin and Gayle (Jeff) Rembaugh; daughter-in-law, Sheila Berry; four grandchildren, Troy Snope, Jason (Eriko) Berry, Jenni (DJ) Holmes, and Jessica (Dakota) Feldbush; six great grandchildren, his sister Helen Stevenson of Escondido, CA, his sister-in-law, Joann Graham, and many cousins, nieces, and nephews. He is preceded in death by his wife, Darlene Berry, on January 11, 2020 and by and their son, Jeff
Berry, in 2018. Jim worked at the Bremerton Naval Shipyard after graduation and he and Darlene were married on March 31, 1951. He then earned his Certificate of Dental Technician and worked at several area dental laboratories in Olympia and Tacoma, and at M.O.D. Lab in Fircrest. He started and owned University Park Dental Laboratory in University Place for many years during which he and Darlene had fun attending annual dental conventions in sunny locations. After selling the lab to enjoy early retirement, they became “RV” snow birds and set out to visit family and join friends all along the West Coast, AZ, NV, UT, and into Mexico.
Eventually Darlene convinced Jim to come home to University Place to be close to their kids and grandkids. They continued to travel and loved to cruise the Caribbean, spend time in Hawaii and Florida, and visited England and Scotland. In their younger years, Jim and Darlene loved to pack the kids up and go camping with good friends and family to favorite campsites in Eastern Washington and Mt. St. Helens, and to their recreational lake property at Clearwood Community in Yelm.
After retirement, Jim decided he needed to keep busy and work with the public a little longer. A few jobs included driving truck for Royal, repositioning cars for Titus Will Tacoma, working at Cheney Stadium and Melby Manufactured Homes, and even delivering pizza! He was an active outdoorsman and avid learner. He pursued interests and hobbies with zest and often joined clubs and took classes to increase his knowledge. His curiosity about the Universe resulted in membership to a local Astronomer’s Club, grinding his own lenses for long-range planetary telescopes, and countless star-gazing sessions. He was an accomplished Do-It-Yourselfer and owned just about every “How-To for Dummies” book written about computers, financial investing, and seeking patents. Other interests included home improvement, metal detecting, collecting coins, rare Jim Beam bottles, and valuable books, making stained glass art, reading, history, hunting, hiking, snow skiing, watching old movies, and playing LOTTO. He was a member of the Tacoma ELKS Club for over 35 years where he and Darlene enjoyed dining and dancing, and he appreciated a good steam bath several times a week. Jim and Darlene had a large group of life-long friends, many from high school days. They loved their family and “Grandad” always surprised his grandkids with thoughtful, fun gifts at every visit. Jim called both of his daughters “Toots” and although we laughed that he did so mainly because it was easy to remember, we will forever hear his greeting in our hearts. We know that our Dad, our Mom, and our brother Jeff are together again in Heaven and having a great time with all our family and friends who went before them. We love them and miss them all.
The family plans a private memorial service next spring.