Phyllis Carol Berry (nee Rowland), of Akron, passed away on March 12, 2021. She was 104 years old. Burial was March 17 at Chestnut Hill Memorial Park in a graveside ceremony for family members, officiated by Rev. Nanette Pitt.
Phyllis was born on June 19, 1916 and graduated from Akron West High School in 1934. In her senior year she was voted “Most Athletic” and awarded the Womanhood Cup by her fellow students. Phyllis attended the University of Akron and worked her way through school during the Depression selling movie tickets in the box office of Loew’s Theatre, (currently the Akron Civic Theatre). While in college, she was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority and was voted Honorary Cadet Colonel of the ROTC. It was on Akron’s campus that she met her future husband Jim Berry, who later became Vice President and Treasurer of Acme Stores. Phyllis graduated in 1939 with a Bachelor of Science in Education degree, and in the following years taught third and fourth grade in the Mantua, Ohio School System.
She married Jim (also a 1939 UA grad) two weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and a month later her new husband was called up to active duty from the Army Air Force Reserves. They were then stationed at Barksdale Field, Louisiana, where their first son Jim was later born in 1943. By the end of the war the growing family returned to Akron for the birth of their second son Tom.
After becoming an empty nester, Phyllis devoted herself to area civic organizations. She joined the University of Akron Women’s Committee in 1964 and remained a member all of her life. She was active in Kappa Kappa Gamma and the PEO Sisterhood, and in addition, volunteered thousands of hours at Akron Children’s Hospital. While home on leave in 1944, the couple had joined First Congregational Church of Akron and Phyllis remained a devoted member for 77 years. She had also been a member of Fairlawn Country Club for the past 67 years.
Phyllis was preceded in death by her husband Jim in 1999 and is survived by sons Jim Berry (Natalie) of Ipswich, MA and Tom Berry (Karen) of Myrtle Beach, SC and also granddaughters Robin Berry (Will Killgallon) of Gold Canyon, AZ and Ruth Berry (Fred Strickler) of Malden, MA.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be made to the James R. and Phyllis C. Berry “Zippy” Endowed Scholarship c/o The University of Akron Foundation, 375 East Exchange St., Akron, OH 44325-2603.
Services in care of The Billow Funeral Homes and Crematory Fairlawn Chapel 85 N. Miller Road Akron, OH 44333
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