Obituary: Isabel Claire Berry (Nov. 21, 1917 – March 7, 2012)

By Submitted March 15, 2012 12:00 am

Isabel Claire (Murphy) Berry was born on her parents’ ranch (the Murphy Ranch) near Slough House, Sacramento County, Calif., and died at her home in Penngrove, Sonoma County, Calif., following a brief illness at the age of 94. She graduated from Elk Grove High School in Elk Grove, Calif., in 1935 and then worked her way through  UC Berkeley in the last years of the Great Depression, graduating in 1942. She went on to earn a Master’s Degree and continued on a path of life-long learning. She became a middle school teacher, retiring in 1980 after  23 years of teaching. She moved to Crescent City, with her husband, George T. Berry Jr., a descendant of an early pioneer family of Del Norte County in 1946, and began her teaching career there. After taking 11 years off to raise her two sons, she then resumed teaching at Crescent Elk School in 1963.

In 1968, she moved with her family from Crescent City to Rio Vista, Calif., and taught middle grades in the River Delta School District, primarily in Courtand and Isleton, until her retirement. She was a resident of Rio Vista, Calif., from 1968 until 2008, when she moved to a board and care home in Penngrove, Calif.,  to be near her son and daughter-in-law.

She was a member of the Union Baptist Church of Rio Vista, American Association of University Women, Delta Kappa Gamma Honor Society, Unit 175 American Legion Auxillary, California Teachers Association, and National Education Association. In her retirement, she enjoyed gardening, needlepoint, reading, music and family gatherings. She wrote or co-wrote four books on her family history and about life growing up on the Murphy family ranch. She was a long-time Giants baseball fan, and was pleased to have lived long enough to see them win the World Series.

She was  preceded in death by her husband of 61 years, George T. Berry  Jr., and her nine brothers and sisters. She is survived by her sons and daughters-in-law David and Laurie Berry of Rohnert Park, Calif., and Thomas and Diane Berry of Maumee, Ohio, and by numerous nieces and nephews. Her family and many friends will always gratefully remember her boundless love, strong character, iron will, good humor, deep sense of gratitude for even the smallest things, and the example she set for us in the graceful way she faced the adversities, indignities and ravages of old age. The family expresses its deep gratitude and appreciation to the owners and staff of the Penngrove Shangri-La Board and Care Home for the loving care they gave her these past four years. A private memorial gathering will be planned in the near future.

— Submitted by Family