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Jack Berry, longtime Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 36 in Westport, passed away Saturday, February 8, 2014 He was a devoted husband, loving father, and inspirational leader to generations of boys in Westport, the Connecticut Yankee Council, and Scouting Contingents around the world.
Born on August 27, 1942 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, John J. Berry, Jr. grew up in Scouting achieving the rank of Eagle Scout at the age of 13. As he went through Matignon High School and graduated from Boston College, he continued to work with Scout troops in the Boston area. Jack entered the Army in 1964, where he was a First Lieutenant and Commanding Officer of a Mobile Data Processing Unit. His experience in the Army led him to a 43 year career at IBM starting out as a systems engineer. Jack received his M.S. in Administration from George Washington University in 1974, and following several positions in sales and marketing, became Media Marketing Manager for the IBM/ System 390 Division in 1991. He was an executive producer of 40 video and multi-media productions for IBM and received 5 Telly Awards for his work. He fully developed his showmanship skills in this role which he went on to share at the many campfires, Eagle Ceremonies, and Jamboree events he led for the Boy Scouts. Jack ended his career in Analyst Relations at IBM Global Finance before retiring in 2010.
Jack started out his Scouting career in Westport as Cubmaster of Pack 192 in the early 1980's and took over as Scoutmaster of Troop 36 when his son bridged into Boy Scouts. Under his leadership, over 70 scouts achieved the rank of Eagle. In addition to his troop, he was pivotal in leading the Connecticut Yankee Council's Contingent to 6 National Boy Scout Jamborees, including inviting international Scouts from Japan, Scotland, Poland and several other countries. Jack led contingents to 5 Jamborettes in Scotland giving hundreds of boys an experience of a lifetime. For 26 years he ran an annual ski trip to Mount Snow for hundreds of Scouts from around the council. For the last 6 years, Jack has served on the Connecticut Yankee Council Board of Directors, most recently serving as the Vice President of Program where he has been responsible for all of the programs in the Council. Jack has received numerous awards and recognitions including the Silver Beaver, the Scoutmaster of Award of Merit, the International Scouting Award, the District Award of Merit, and the Outstanding Eagle Scout Award.
Lord Robert Baden-Powell once said, "The real way to get happiness is by giving out happiness to other people. Try to leave this world a little better than you found it and when your turn comes to die, you can die happy in feeling that at any rate you have not wasted your time, but have done your best."
Jack's greatest joy was helping young people realize their potential. His ability to see and bring out the best in people, and to encourage everyone he met to strive to reach a little bit higher, will be remembered for years to come. Jack was an inspiration to his family, friends, colleagues, and the thousands of Scouts whose lives he touched.
He will be deeply missed by his wife, Sally; daughter and son-in-law, Lori & Garth Landers and son, Christopher Berry; grandchildren, Zane and Odin Landers; as well as his brother, Robert H. Berry; and sister, Judy Gully; godchildren, James Gablosky, Cheryl Demontreux, and Robert P. Berry; and his many cousins, nieces and nephews.
Calling hours will be held on Thursday, February 13 from 4-8pm at Lesko & Polke Funeral Home, 1209 Post Road, in Fairfield Center. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Friday, February 14 at 10:30 am directly at St. Luke Church in Westport. Interment will follow at Oaklawn Cemetery in Fairfield.
The family requests that donations be made in Jack's memory to the Jack Berry Jamboree Scholarship Fund, c/o Connecticut Yankee Council, 60 Wellington Rd, Milford, CT 06460.
To order flowers online, travel directions, or to sign his guest register, please visit www.LeskoPolkeFuneralHome.com
Lesko & Polke Funeral Home
1209 Post Road
Fairfield, CT 06824
Published in Connecticut Post from Feb. 12 to Feb. 13, 2014