It is with profound sadness that the family and friends of Mark Stephen Berry, 52, a much-loved father and respected leader at First Presbyterian Church in Santa Rosa, report his sudden passing. Mark was taken on Aug. 13 as a result of a traffic accident in the Mount Shasta area. Born to Stewart and Nancy Berry in Washington on May 1, 1962, Mark grew up in the Seattle area and played football at Mercer Island High School. After graduation in 1980, he attended the University of Washington where he earned a place on the crew team. He later transferred to the University of Oregon where he met his wife, Robin McKown. They were married in 1987 and had two children, Dylan, 23, and Lauren, 21. Mark worked as a wine sales executive for E & J Gallo Winery, Kendall Jackson and, later, Purple Wine Company. It was his work for Kendall Jackson that brought Mark and his family to Santa Rosa in 2000. He served as Kendall Jackson's national sales manager and particularly enjoyed his time leading KJ's Regal Wine Company. Mark loved playing tennis, riding his Harley motorcycle, golfing with his son, playing spades with friends, breakfast dates with his daughter, fly fishing, mountain biking, taking family trips, snow skiing and attending Giants games whenever possible. Known as a man with a quick wit and a big heart, he was a committed volunteer in Sonoma County, serving as a spiritual adviser and friend to the youth at Los Guilicos juvenile justice center in Sonoma Valley. It was at First Presbyterian Church of Santa Rosa where he devoted much of his talents and free time, serving as a Sunday School teacher and often accepting lead roles in church plays for children and adults. Whether serving as a shepherd, an angel or a talking barn animal, Mark will be remembered for providing truth, light and levity to many church productions. But for all of his activities, there was nothing that gave him more pride and pleasure than watching his two children grow, learning to share his love of music, his heart for people and his love of laughter. In addition to Robin, Dylan and Lauren, Mark is survived by his parents, Nancy and Stewart of Seaside, Oregon, and his brother and sister-in-law Eric and Jodie Berry and nephew Tyson Berry of Eugene, Oregon. A memorial and celebration of his life will be held at First Presbyterian Church, 1550 Pacific Ave., Santa Rosa on Saturday, Sept. 6 at 1 p.m. A casual outdoor reception will follow the service off site. Memorial donations may be made to First Presbyterian Church. Memories may be shared with the family at email@example.com.
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Published Online in the Press Democrat from Aug. 23 to Aug. 26, 2014