Gilbert "Gil" I. Berry, Jr.
75, peacefully departed this life on Thursday, June 21, 2012, surrounded by family and friends. Gil was born on April 22, 1937 in Chicago, Illinois, to the late Gilbert and Madeleine (Leonard) Berry, Sr. In middle school, he moved with his family to Indianapolis. Growing up in Indianapolis, Gil was active in sports, with a lifelong fondness of football, especially the Chicago Bears. He attended church at St. Luke Catholic Church.
Gil graduated from Broad Ripple High School in 1955, and then obtained his undergraduate degree in 1959 from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana where he was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. After his graduation from Indiana University he received his Law Degree from Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis in 1963. Gil began his practice of law as a Marion County deputy prosecutor for Noble Pearcy, then joined the law firm of Fulmer, Burrus and Byron. He was a founding partner of Buck, Berry, Landau and Breunig. He practiced law for 49 years and was definitely not ready to retire. His work ethic, integrity and honesty were well known throughout the legal community. During his career he was a member of the American Bar Association, Indiana Bar Association and Indianapolis Bar Association. He was licensed by the Supreme Court of Indiana, the United States District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana, the United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit and the United States Court of Appeals. He also proudly served as Secretary and Vice President on the board of ICLEF (Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum). He frequently chaired seminars for ICLEF, giving annual updates on DUIs and traffic law. These seminars were often ICLEF's highest attended seminars, as he was such an informative and entertaining speaker. He enjoyed volunteering his time, and for many years, he was a character and fitness examiner for those entering the Bar Association; and spent many days as Judge Pro Tempore.
Gil had a wide variety of passions--family, fitness, travel, hunting, fishing, riding his Harley Davidson Road King, spending time "putzing" at his prized Owen County log cabin and Sanibel homes, as well as Tae Kwon Do, to name a few. He was especially proud that he didn't start his martial arts training until the age of 50, eventually earning his 3rd degree black belt. He never rested and was always on the go, leading some to compare him to the Energizer Bunny or even Superman. Most men half his age could not keep up with him. His passion for life and how to really live life to the fullest was well known.
With all that he did, one of his proudest accomplishments was his grandchildren. He was affectionately known to his grandchildren as "Papa." They loved being around him because he was a big kid at heart himself.
He cherished each and every one of his countless friends. He considered everyone to be his "best" friend, and treated each as such. To know him was to love him. Gil always exhibited an unconditional love that extended well past the borders of blood relations. Gil Berry Jr. was definitely "bigger than life" to anyone who knew him. He lived every single day to its absolute fullest. He had a passion for life, as well as a fabulous sense of humor. Everyone who was near him was constantly smiling and/or laughing.
Gil is survived by his loving wife Celeste English Berry; beloved and adoring children Gilbert Berry III (Beth) and Nikole Brimer (Scott); step children: Peggy Stamm and Patrick Stamm (Lisa); grandchildren: Emily Brimer, Abby Berry, Carter Brimer, and Marissa Brimer; step-grandchildren: Michael Stamm and Angela Stamm; siblings: Katie McKinney, Chuck Berry (Paula), Maddie Linder (Greg), and Bob Berry (Diane); and many nieces and nephews.
Gil was preceded in death by his parents and first wife Kay Berry.
Visitation (Celebration of Gil's life) will be on Sunday, June 24, 2012 from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. in the Leppert Mortuary, Nora Chapel . A Mass of Christian Burial will be on Monday, June 25, 2012 at his home parish, St. Luke Catholic Church, Indianapolis, at 11:30 a.m. with Father Paul Peterson officiating. Burial will be at Our Lady of Peace cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions may be made to the
and/or CaringBridge.org. The Berry Family would also like to extend an invitation to all who knew Gil by to leave an online 'Gil Berry Favorite Story' so that they may reflect back on the times Gil spent with family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues, You may do so by visiting
This man whom we all loved so dearly will be truly missed--Gil, "Dad," " Papa," you will be forever in our hearts. You certainly did do it "My Way."