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Leonard Melvin Berry, age 79, passed away early on the morning of Thursday, April 26th. Leonard was a new resident of Caldwell. Leonard and his wife, Rose moved to Caldwell in 2016 to be near their daughter, Renee and her husband, Dennis. Though leaving Oakdale, California where Rose and Leonard had lived for more than twenty years was difficult because they loved their old place on Lancaster Road near the Stanislaus River, it was the right decision. Leonard needed a family’s attention, and that is what he found in Caldwell. Leonard’s final hours were spent with his family at his bedside, comforting him on his final journey.
Leonard was born on February 1st in 1939 in Indio, California. He was the second-born of five siblings born to Alma Grody York and Louis Melvin Berry of Oklahoma, both deceased. However, he was the only male child. His eldest sister, Letha-Mae is now deceased, but Leonard is survived by his three younger sisters, Linda Moiser of Texas, Paulette Doty of Oklahoma, and Diane Alfred of Texas. Leonard was a one-woman man. He married his high school sweet-heart, Rose Marie McClure, when he was just nineteen years old and she, barely sixteen, and they remained married his entire life---sixty years together! They wed in Del City, Texas on February 1st (Leonard’s birthday) in 1958 and promptly began a family, bringing into the world three children: Renee, their oldest and only female, born in 1959 in El Paso, Texas; and their two sons, Melvin, the middle-child born in Ceres, CA in 1961; and Lynn, the youngest born in 1962, also in Ceres. As a young man, Leonard was very active. He played varsity sports at Del City High School, both football and basketball, as well as running track, and in his senior year, Leonard was a member of his high school’s 440 Relay team that went all the way to the Texas State Track Championship. Leonard spent most of his working life at Hershey Foods Corporation in Oakdale, California. He worked there for thirty-years, starting when the plant first opened in 1965. He had a seventeen-year stint in which he never missed a day or work. He progressively moved up in responsibility, being promoted to 2nd and 3rd Shift Plant Supervisor. He also played on the Hershey Plant softball team, sponsored by Phillips 66 and was a pretty good pitcher. Leonard enjoyed the simpler things in life: ocean fishing in Monterrey, camping at Cherry Lake in the Sierra’s, and water skiing on Don Pedro Reservoir. Though he didn’t travel far very often, he and Rose did visit the Holy Land (Israel) and vacation in Matzalan, Mexico and Hawaii. Leonard also took up bowling late in life and became quite good, so much so that he won his fair share of first place finishes. However, despite these activities, Leonard most preferred being at home. He was most comfortable being outside, watering the yard, trimming shrubs, and tending the garden. One of his favorite spots to relax, while he and Rose were still living in Oakdale, was the porch swing in the backyard. He liked sitting there in the shade, just being with friends and family, enjoying a glass of tea or a cold beer.
Leonard Melvin Berry was a good man: dependable in both little and large things, faithful to his wife and Christ Jesus, his savior, and an honorable man worthy of others’ faith and trust. The world needs more men like him. Leonard is survived by his wife, Rose Maria Berry, his three children, Renee Marie Carter of Caldwell Idaho, his sons, Melvin Donald Berry of Baltimore, Maryland, and Lynn Danny Berry of Modesto, California, as well as grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Leonard’s remains will be interred Canyon Hills Cemetery overlooking the river. A memorial service is being planned, but will take place at a later date. If one wishes to share a memory of Leonard, one may do so on Leonard’s Memorial page on the Flahiff Funeral Chapel and Crematory website, firstname.lastname@example.org