Betty J. Berry
February 15, 1926 ‒ January 08, 2021
Betty J. (Pugh) Berry of Lucas, Ohio, age 94, passed away on Friday, January 8th, 2021 at OhioHealth Mansfield Hospital after a brief stay. She was born in Mansfield at the Eleanor Thomas Hospital (now Liberty Nursing Home) on February 15th, 1926 to James (Jim) and Georgia Pugh.
Betty loved life and lived it to the fullest, never wanting to miss anything!
Betty grew up in the Woodland area of Mansfield and attended Prospect, Woodland, Hedges and John Simpson schools. When one of the schools was being built Betty and her classmates had to crawl through a window to get into the school. She learned to play the piano “by ear” at age three when her brother Bob, four years older, received music lessons at home. Betty would listen to what the music instructor played and then she would pick it out by ear and went on to play by ear beautifully the rest of her life mostly playing music from the 1920’ and 1930’s but also military, Christmas and religious music and hymns. She even played on the stage in Branson Missouri in front of hundreds of people. She loved playing the piano!
Betty went to Mansfield Senior High and when she turned 16 she got a part time job selling shoes at JCPennys close to the square in Mansfield. After she graduated from Mansfield Senior High in 1944 she attended business college and went to work for Taylor Metal Products as Dick Taylor’s secretary and then for Purdy Construction.
Betty’s father Jim Pugh built the Pugh Cabins, now part of Malabar Farm State Park, in the 1930’s and 1940’s and Betty and her brother Bob helped. The family traveled to the Cabin on weekends and summers and moved there permanently in 1947. Her mother’s cousin said Betty just had to go sing in the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church choir in Lucas as there were two eligible bachelors singing in the choir and that’s where Betty met Duane Berry. Betty and Duane fell in love and were married on September 5th, 1948 at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and had 62 wonderful years of marriage until Duane’s passing in 2010. They did almost everything together and were a great couple.
Since Duane was a farmer Betty had to learn how to gather eggs, drive a tractor, bale hay, etc. They had 5,000 chickens and cleaned and packed the eggs to sell on a regular route to Mansfield groceries, restaurants, to Louis Bromfield, and sent some to New York City. They later had sheep, beef cattle, and horses. Betty worked part time as a Monroe Township Clerk and drove the Lucas Rural Mail Route delivering mail for 8 years.
Betty and Duane had a daughter Connie Jean who was born in 1953 with health issues and passed away 19 months later. Betty and Duane said they were then so fortunate to have a daughter Joan and a son Bob for which they were extremely grateful. The family was very close and built many great memories of doing things together.
Betty and Duane played pinochle with the same group of friends once a month for 60 years and had so much fun! They also square danced and even won the “Best Couple” prize at one Malabar Farm Barn Dance. They spent many evening playing cards as a family with their children as well.
Betty and Duane attended the Congregational Church in Lucas (now Grace Bible) and Betty served as a Youth Leader and trained a girls singing group and Betty also sang in a women’s trio. Rev. J. Ray Klingensmith was the minister at the Congregational Church and saw so much potential in Betty that he encouraged her to go to college so at age 36 Betty started at Ashland College taking one class at a time while she worked and raised her family. She worked on her Elementary Education degree and served as the first secretary for the Art Department in the new Arts and Humanities building at Ashland College (AC, now Ashland University). She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in 1972 from AC and went on to The Ohio State University to earn her Master’s Degree in Counseling in 1973. She was hired by Crestview Schools and was an Elementary and Junior High School Guidance Counselor for 17 years. She really loved working with the students and staff where she made many life-long friends. After a life-threatening stoke, she retired from Crestview in 1990.
Betty and Duane followed Rev. Klingensmith to the East Homer United Church of Christ where she played the organ for 30 years and Betty and Duane sang in a quartet with the Klingensmith’s. When Rev. Klingensmith passed away Betty and Duane discovered Little Washington Congregational Church in Mansfield close to their home and Pastor Dave Root. They both really liked this church and became members in 2003. Betty played the organ and the piano and sang in the LWCC church choir for years. In fact, she played the piano beautifully at church just three weeks before she passed away.
Betty loved growing flowers and grew them everywhere for years. She lived in her home in Lucas for 73 years and was able to stay in her home with the help of her children up until she went to the hospital. She frequently said that she had a wonderful life and was really blessed. We will all miss her cheerful disposition and personality, her jokes and her!
Anyone who knew Betty always saw her enthusiasm for life, her interest in everything, how she loved everyone and appreciated everything, her love and pride for her children, her telling of jokes, her love of cookies, pies and any desert, her love of playing the piano for others, and her beautiful sparkly sweaters and tops. So many have commented on how Betty was such an inspiration to them and they just loved her personality and her! Betty thought the best of everyone and lived as a true Christian!
Betty is survived by her two children that loved her very much and are very proud of her: Joan Berry Kalamas (spouse David J. Kalamas who is deceased) of Lucas and is a Professor at Ashland University and Dr. Robert Berry (spouse Lynda L. Berry who is deceased) of Perrysville who is a Chiropractor and has his own Chiropractic practice in Loudonville; three grandchildren Renee Meadows and her husband RJ Meadows of Gallatin, Tennessee, Allen Berry and his wife Stefany Berry of Gallatin, Tennessee, and Jennifer Malinak Kalamas of Plano, Texas; and a great granddaughter Harper Meadows, also from Gallatin Tennessee. She is also survived by a sister in law Ruth Berry and nephews David Berry, Jim Berry, Michael Hollinger, Brian Hollinger, and Jamie Pugh and by nieces Marilyn Johnson, Cher Cox, Elaine Yildiz, Shirley Jones, Barb Endsley, Cyndy Burt, and Debbie Saks.
Betty was preceded in death by her husband Duane Berry whom she was married to for 62 wonderful years, her mother Georgia M. Pugh, her father James V. Pugh, her brother Robert Pugh and sister-in-law Marnie Pugh, and brothers-in-laws and sisters-in-laws Leo and Mabel Berry, Wilma and Max Maglott, Lyle Berry, Rosella and Glen Hollinger, and Walter and Phyllis Berry.
A Celebration of Life service will be held for Betty on Saturday, January 23rd at 2:00 p.m. at the Little Washington Congregational Church, 2323 Washington South Road (corner of Hanley Rd. and Washington South Rd.), Mansfield, Ohio. The family will receive visitors from 12:00 (noon) until 2:00 p.m. For those who don’t feel they can attend this Celebration the family understands.
Betty will be laid to rest at Pleasant Valley Cemetery in Lucas at a separate time.
Memorial contributions in remembrance of Betty may be made to Little Washington Congregational Church, 2323 Washington South Road, Mansfield, Ohio 44903.
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