He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Joanna, and his dear children Chris in New York, Colleen Naff in Houston and Colleen’s husband, David and his grandchildren, Laura and Brian. Bill is also survived by his sister, Roberta Cross, along with three nieces, Cathy Christensen Forney, Terri Cross Brown & Dorothy Cross Jensen. Bill is preceded in death by his father, Cole A. Berry, mother, Dorothy Bickel Berry, sister Margaret Christensen, and nephew, Lindsey Cross.
Bill was born on October 11, 1935, in Shenandoah, IA. Bill's childhood was spent in Shenandoah and Des Moines, IA. He pursued higher education at Iowa State University and graduated from Drake University in Des Moines, IA, with a BS in Business Administration and was a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.
Work brought him to New Orleans, LA, where in 1959, he met Joanna Compagno on a double date. Their connection was immediate, leading to their marriage on June 12, 1960. Bill & Joanna raised their family in Metairie where they were active in the nearby Beach Club Swim & Tennis club. It was there that Bill found immense joy pursuing his lifelong passion for tennis.
A devoted family man, Bill spent his leisure time tending to the house & yard, engaging in tennis matches with friends several times a week, and delighting in social gatherings with Joanna and their extensive circle of friends. He had a longtime love of jazz music, Western movies, travel with family & friends, and a never-flagging commitment to the New Orleans Saints. His family will always remember him as a fun-loving father whose enthusiasm for celebrating with family & friends was exemplified by the longtime annual New Year’s day brunch at Commander’s Palace that will be remembered by many.
Following his graduation, Bill embarked on a career as an insurance agent, residing in Detroit, MI. When Bill moved to New Orleans, his adopted hometown, he worked for Louisiana & Southern Life Insurance for many years. His career culminated as Vice President of Employee Benefits for Entergy. In 2006, Bill and Joanna relocated to Houston to be close to their daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren.
A celebration of Bill's life will be held at a date to be announced. In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests donations be made in his honor to Houston Hospice, whose staff provided compassionate care to Bill during his final days, ensuring a peaceful transition. Donations can be made at Houstonhospice.org/donate.
Bill Berry's legacy of love, dedication to family, and passion for life will forever resonate in the hearts of those who knew him. He will be deeply missed and fondly remembered.