Rev. James Willard Berry, 89, of Rainsville, AL, passed away on Friday, March 27,
2020, at Aiken Regional Medical Centers in Aiken, SC.
Public visitation will be Saturday, April 4, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Rainsville Funeral
Home. Family visitation will be from 1 to 2 p.m. The family requests that guests respect
the governor’s orders of nine persons or fewer, with a distance of six feet between each
person, during visitation. A private graveside service will be held at 2:30 for the
immediate family at Mountain View Memory Gardens, Fort Payne, with Pastor Stephen
Rev. Berry was born on November 3, 1930, in Dekalb County, the tenth of eleven
children. He graduated from Fyffe High School in 1949 where he was a proud member
of the Red Devils football team. He joined the Alabama Army National Guard while still
in high school, and enlisted in the Air Force following graduation. He received an
honorable discharge as a staff sergeant in 1953 and worked in the private aircraft
industry before embarking on a career with the National Aeronautics and Space
Administration (NASA) at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville. He retired from
NASA in 1990.
Rev. Berry trusted Jesus as his Savior at the age of 23. He went on to serve as a
deacon in his local church, and then worked bivocationaly in local church ministry for
many years. He graduated from Samford University in 1983, served as associate pastor
of First Baptist Church, Toney, and then as pastor of Hills Chapel Baptist Church, Hazel
Green. In retirement, he served as chaplain at Mountain Lakes Resort in Langston
where he was instrumental in the planning, construction and operation of the resort
Rev. Berry was preceded in death by his loving wife of 59 years, Gay Nell Wood Berry;
his parents, Pat & Polly Berry; five sisters, Emma Estelle Berry Hasty, Novella D. Berry
Jones, Ola Mae Berry Smith, Ina Louise Berry and Betty Jean Berry; and five brothers,
JP Berry, LD Berry, John Ansel Berry, Calvin Griggs Berry and Grady Donald Berry.
He is survived by a daughter, Ramona K. Story of North Augusta, SC; a son, Kent D.
Berry and wife, Nancy, of Greensboro, NC; three grandsons, Stephen Story and wife,
Dottie, of Augusta, GA, Daniel Story and wife, Marian, of Dearing, GA, and T.C.
Williams and wife, Jayme, of Baltimore, MD.; a granddaughter, Amanda Shampine and
husband, Jonathan, of Concord, NC; eight great-grandchildren; and a host of nephews,
nieces and cousins.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be made to the
Downtown Rescue Mission, 1400 Evangel Drive N.W., Huntsville, AL 35816, a ministry
that was important to Rev. Berry for many years.