Donald “Keith” Berry

Keith Berry

On May 5, 2019 Keith Berry’s family, friends and many others whose lives he touched lost a kind and generous man.

He was born in Denver, Colorado but as a young child his family moved to Wisconsin. Keith attended Marquette University High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he lettered in track and football. He was named All Conference Fullback his junior and senior years and All State Honorable Mention as a senior. His teammates voted him Captain and Most Valuable Player his senior year.

In 1958 he entered Idaho State College on a football scholarship where he lettered twice and was named Honorable Mention on the Rocky Mountain All Conference team. Keith was affiliated with Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity whose members have become life-long friends. It was Idaho State where he met Sharon, his wife of 55 years. At Idaho State University, after being accepted into Advanced

Captain Berry

ROTC, Keith was named Outstanding ROTC Cadet as a senior. In 1963 he graduated with a B.S. degree in Business Administration and Economics and was awarded a commission into the U.S. Army as a 2nd Lieutenant. That fall he attended Airborne School at Ft. Benning, Georgia. Immediately after completion, he entered training to become a U.S. Army Ranger, an honor he cherished his entire life. In February of 1964 with two weeks between Ranger training and assignment to Milwaukee, Wisconsin Air Defense Group, Keith and Sharon were married. His assignment to the Wisconsin Air Defense Group lasted just over a year when he received orders to Vietnam. Keith was selected to attend the Vietnamese Language School at the Presidio in Monterey, California from October to December 1965. Upon completing the course, he was deployed to Vietnam for one year where he attained the rank of Captain and was awarded the Bronze Star of Meritorious Service. He was then assigned to Fort Sill, Oklahoma where he co-researched, developed and presented 96 hours of instruction in management to the officers in the Artillery Career Course. He was awarded the Army Commendation Award for that tour of duty. After seventeen months at Ft. Sill, he resigned his military commission and began civilian life.

After employment in corporate finance, Keith fulfilled a lifelong ambition to become an FBI Agent. During his career with “The Bureau” he was the Special Agent Accountant for the San Francisco division and later Supervisor Agent in the Hayward and Santa Cruz, California FBI offices. While still employed at the FBI, Keith continued his education by attending nigh classes receiving Masters Degrees in Accounting, Financial Planning, and Taxation. After retirement from the FBI, Keith worked at Sun Microsystems as Manager of Business Investigations. If all of the above wasn’t enough, he ran marathons and rode dirt bikes in his 30’s and 40’s. In his 50’s he enjoyed inline skating, learned downhill ski and relearned pole vaulting which he’d done in high school.

In 2001 Keith and Sharon moved to the Seattle area to live near family. While there, Keith volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and demonstrated his own humanity through his kindness and generosity to family, friends, and strangers. He always thought of others before himself and how he could make someone’s life better. Humans weren’t the only recipients of his kindness. His love of all living creatures was beyond description. If it purred or barked he especially melted.

Keith is survived by his wife Sharon; son David and daughter-in-law Nanci; sister-in-laws Jeanne, Willa, and Marilyn, brother-in-law Alan; and cousins, nieces, nephews, grand nieces, grand nephews and life-long friends. We will miss him more than can be imagined.

Keith was preceded in death by his mother Josephine Patricia Johnson, stepfathers James W. Berry and George C. Johnson, and his sister Mary Patricia Shannon.

Keith will be interred at Tahoma National Cemetery, 18600 SE 240th St.. Kent, Washington at 2:15PM on June 7, 2019. Memorial donations may be made in Keith’s name to The Humane Society, any Food Bank, both of which were his favorite charities, or any of your choice.

BY THE WAY, HE ALSO PLAYED THE ACCORDION

4 Responses to “Donald “Keith” Berry”

  • Rich Zogaric says:

    Farwell to one of the greatest men I ever knew. Keith Berry was the father of my best and oldest friend. He was also my mentor growing up, especially once my path took me into law enforcement. I am eternally grateful for the Berry family’s thankless hospitality throughout the years. I especially treasure being included in the family camping trips as the second “son.” Although I am very saddened to hear of his passing, I am a better man because of the influence that Keith Berry had on my life. Until we meet again…Godspeed….

  • Tony Sarge says:

    Keith and Sharon were among our very first friends and great neighbors upon moving to San Jose, CA, forty-five years ago. David and our three sons were friends and camp mates on our trips to the state beaches near Santa Cruz. I particularly remember Keith once challenging a tribe of teenage boys to pin him down in a scuffle at a campground, with the result that all of them were locked in various holds in a matter of seconds! Keith introduced me to long distance running, and I once completed a leg of a 50 mile relay race along US 101 from Half Moon Bay to Santa Cruz with his team from the FBI. Keith was an “iron man” then, as he was facing illness. RIP, Captain.

  • Teresa Bates says:

    Our family has lived across the street from Keith and Sharon for nearly 16 years. We had just moved in when a huge wind storm knocked down large fir trees and power lines throughout our neighborhood. We had several trees laying across our driveway and just having moved from the city, we had no tools or equipment to remove with them. Keith came over with a chainsaw, introduced himself, and began clearing the trees from our driveway. He and Sharon would go on to become our kids adopted grandparents; attending music concerts, picking them up from school on occasion, celebrating holidays with our family, helping with house projects, and pet sitting. Keith loved my kids and loved my animals almost as much. He would always ask me how the kids where doing, followed up by, how are the animals. He was always willing to beautify our neighborhood by helping with the bark or fence painting crew. I didn’t know Keith in his prime athlete days but even in his 70’s he was exercising daily and GBHing (Golf Ball Hunting). We were the lucky recipients of his findings. Whenever I needed help with anything, Keith had the answer and was happy to help. He fixed a leaky hose faucet, repaired my outside yard lighting when I accidentally cut the electrical cord, helped install a gas hook up for our grill and cut out a perfectly shaped board to set on my laundry room sink, that I still use to this day. Good neighbors who become like family are rare and Keith was the rarest of them all. He will be greatly missed!

  • Tom McNassar says:

    I had met Keith volunteering with Habitat for Humanity.
    We hit off and typically teamed up on assignments for several years. He always carried “our” load, so strong and tireless.

    Most of all he was generous, thoughtful and considerate. It was never about Keith.

    Am sure that he’s in a good place.

    Miss getting his peace sign in church.

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