Alvin C. Berry Alvin C. Berry, loving father, grandfather and great-grandfather,passed away on December 12, 2009 at the age of 86 at the The Kent nursing home. A long time resident of Brookfield, Al made his home in New Milford at the time of his death. Born on November 19, 1923 in Minneapolis, Minn. to Phillip and Helen Berry, Al spent his childhood in Minnesota, Montana and the Dako-tas. After the death of his father in Montana, the family moved around, eventually settling in Northfield, Minn. Northfield was the site of the most famous of the Jesse James bank robberies where the citizens took up arms against the bandits and foiled the robbery. Al remembers as a child listening to the stories of old timers who were present during that great shoot out. After graduating from high school at the age of 16, Al left home to make his mark on the world. He worked his way back to Montana where he was hired as a cowboy to saddle break horses for the U.S. Army, which at that time still maintained a mounted cavalry in Ft. Riley, Kansas. During World War II, Al served as a 2nd Lieutenant and flew combat missions with the 381st Bomb Group out of Ridgewell, England. On May 30, 1944, his B-17 was shot down by enemy fighters while on a bombing raid over Germany. One of five survivors, he was captured and interned in Stalag Luft 3, the prisoner of war camp made famous by the movie "The Great Escape." He celebrated his 21st birthday as a POW and in January 1945 survived the infamous forced march through the severe cold and snow from Stalag Luft 3 to Stalag 7A in Moosburg where he remained interned until the end of the war. In 1950, Al went to work as a pilot for Pan American World Airways in San Francisco, Calif. In 1954, he moved his young family to Brookfield after being transferred to Idlewild Airport in New York City. He eventually retired from Pan American as a Boeing 707 captain and remained in Brookfield until 1986. Being a westerner at heart, Al moved with his second wife, Reidun, to Colorado in 1993, eventually settling in Estes Park. For health reasons the returned to Connecticut in 2006 to be close to family. Al was predeceased by his first wife, Naomi in 1976 and his second wife, Reidun in 2007. He is survived by a sister, Phyllis Hauge of Cottonwood, Ariz.; three sons, Carl Berry and his wife, Laurie of Bethel, Hal Berry and his wife, Lynda of Brigham City, Utah and Robert Berry and his wife, Susan of New Milford; three daughters, Susan Walley and her husband, Jeff of Chino Valley, Ariz., Myrna Berry of Port Lucie, Fla., and Patricia Parks of New Milford; 13 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren. Services are private and will be held at the convenience of the family. Lillis Funeral Home, 58 Bridge Street, New Milford is in charge of arrangements.
Published in The News-Times on Dec. 15, 2009.