OBITUARY

Brij Mohan Berry

November 12, 1929April 30, 2021

Brij Berry was one of those individuals you had to meet to believe. We had a friend once travel through Prince George and based on the stories we had told, he was curious about my father and wanted to meet him. After the customary introductions he was ushered into Brij’s office where he felt mildly threatened by the defensive squawking of an African grey parrot called Mickey, whom Brij was caring for while Mickey’s human family was travelling. Brij soothed the parrot by giving him half a digestive biscuit and talking to him gently. “I’m the only one he likes while his family is away,” Brij commented, “I stopped cutting my hair to resemble one of his species, in an effort to make him feel at home.” The friend reflected that indeed, Brij’s hair resembled that of a cockatoo. The bird did a small shuffle and clicked his tongue. My friend sat at the desk facing a wall full of books and after Brij had returned with the tea and cookies he sat is his chair, smiled and said “what would you like to discuss?”

This was because for the entirety of our family’s memory and experience of Brij was that at pretty much any time, and anyone could sit down with him and have a conversation, discussion, story and maybe even a lecture on practically any topic. It wasn’t just that Brij was educated. He had five degrees from four countries. He had travelled within every continent except Antarctica which he only regretted because he loved penguins, but thought it would be too cold. His recall of what he had read, observed, experienced and felt, his recall of his students, colleagues and parents was not only remarkable in itself, it refined his innate gift for storytelling, counselling and teaching.

Brij’s family would like to express their deepest gratitude to his friends and students in Prince George for caring, entertaining and feeding him and creating a community and a home for him. We also express our deepest admiration and respect for all health care workers and special thanks to those who tended to Brij in this last year of his wonderful, colourful and rewarding life.

Here is a link to the documentary “Mr. Berry” about his lifelong commitment to tea and teaching. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NxThtEv-RU

Services

No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.

Memories

Brij Mohan Berry

have a memory or condolence to add?

ADD A MEMORY
James Thwaites

May 13, 2021

I lived with Brij while teaching on a reserve. When I moved in he explained his lifestyle. "I do not wash dishes," he said. "I am teacher, not dish washer. I do not shovel snow. I am teacher not snow shoveler. "

He taught.me to love the profession we both shared. "Teaching is not working, teaching is joy." A bad day was when no student showed up. When he returned to Prince George on the weekend, he would come back bubbling with enthusiasm. "I taught from 7 am to 10 pm. What joy. What happiness!"

Geraldine Joseph

May 12, 2021

Mr Berry was an awesome teacher.He will be missed.

Cody Johnny

May 12, 2021

Mr berry and I spent many long nights together working through tough math questions while sipping tea and eating cookies. I spent about 2.5 years of high school working with him. I would’ve never made it through school without him and his patience. If you didn’t get something he’d show you another way and repeat it until it was drilled into your head. He made me look at math as an art even tho I despised it. His stories always blew my mind, and his humour was the icing on the cake. Thank you mr berry for everything you have taught me ❤️ May you Rest in Peace

Jenny K

May 12, 2021

Mr. Berry was an amazing teacher in as many ways as the profession can be described. Even thought he taught me and my five siblings mathematics for over six years, the greatest lesson he has ever passed down to us was kindness and compassion.

Raised by a single mom, our family struggled to make ends meet in Prince George. Mr. Berry was our saviour, and provided us with a home to live in rent-free for many months before my mom was finally able to save up enough money to cover our living expenses. Without Mr. Berry, we would have ended up on the streets. We will never forget the kindness and grace Mr. Berry showed us during this time. His spirit and memory will live on as we choose to live our lives by his example. Rest in peace Mr. Berry, we’ll be having tea and cookies tonight in your name!

Judy Polysou

May 11, 2021

Brij would be a substitute teacher in my family studies classes. It was very easy to prepare for this wonderful substitute teacher; I would give him the unit we were working on and he would go into our class and share his life stories related to the topic. The students were so interested and would always look forward to his classroom visits. Going from Hart Highlands to College Heights Secondary School was a great distance because Brij did not drive. I sometimes drove to his home to pick him up! I send to Brij’s family and friends sincere condolences. Brij was a great human: kind, interesting, knowledgeable, friendly, warm and fascinating.

Satvinder Aulakh

May 11, 2021

Mr. Berry was a amazing caring person. He was a tutor to my son and daughter. He had a incredible way of teaching the kids. They had to going to get help but they loved listening to his stories and spending time with him. He will be missed dearly.

Lindi Correia

May 10, 2021

Rest In Peace Mr. Berry. I will never forget the life lessons you taught me during the toughest times of my teenage years. I spoke of you often through my adult life. The only teacher that made algebra make sense. Thank you for the knowledge, the stories, and the cookies ❤️

Daniel Stark

May 10, 2021

When I was a kid, I lived down the road from Mr. Berry's. Seeing him on walks always peaked the imagination about who he was and what he did. Was he just a friendly neighbourhood grandpa? Was he an artist? Was he a mad scientist? It wasn't until many years later, in 2019, that I finally met Mr. Berry. Picking up my girlfriend's sister from a tutoring session and watching the lesson from the back of his office, I realized he was everything I imagined him being and more. I was in the room with the most interesting person in the world and I needed to know more about him.

That summer, with a team of filmmakers, we pitched him on making a documentary about his life. He was keen on the idea and we got straight to work. We spent a good part of the summer meeting up with him regularly, conducting interviews and filming sequences. He was a joy to work with and always brought the goods. I learned so much about his life, and the effect he had on the communities he worked in. His passion for teaching left an undeniably emotional impact on so many of his students. I was brought to tears many times in the making of the film, hearing from his students and hearing from Mr. Berry himself about what he went through in his own young life. Making the film was such a rewarding creative experience for me, that I knew I would be forever grateful for his time and energy in the making of that project.

What I didn't expect was how fond I was becoming of the relationship we were developing. I had made a good friend. I continued to visit Mr. Berry as much as I could, always meeting for tea and food. We would talk about the world, politics, science and relationships. Nothing was off limits. He gave great advice about my own life that I will cherish forever. The last time I saw Mr. Berry was a few weeks before he passed. He was as sharp, joyful, generous and engaging as ever. I will miss that magical man.

Amanda Belshaw

May 10, 2021

Mr. Berry was a truly unique individual. He was always so kind and sensitive. I remember he tutored me at his house and I wasn’t allowed to leave until I got 100% on my work. He knew you had it you before you even knew. He was a wonderful man and always willing to lend you a dollar for the vending machine. Not sure how he remembered who all owed him, but he did because if you hadn’t paid him back and came back for more, he knew and wouldn’t lend you any more until you paid back the first dollar.
What a unique life and a truly unique man. He and all if his knowledge will be truly missed.

Mandy Newcomb

May 9, 2021

Mr. Berry was a very kind and compassionate human being. He let us redo our math tests until we got 100%. Most thought that was absurd but we sure did learn a lot about math and life from him.

FROM THE FAMILY