June 7, 1942 – June 10, 2017
Jack M. Berry was best known as a teacher, but his interests reached far beyond the classroom.
He played the piano and gave piano lessons. He fancied the opera and the circus. He researched his ancestors who came through Ellis Island.
A sixth-grade teacher at Niagara-Wheatfield Central School for 27 years, Mr. Berry died June 10 under hospice care in the McAuley Residence in the Town of Tonawanda after a long illness. He was 75.
Born in Buffalo, he was a 1960 graduate of Starpoint Central High School in Pendleton, where he was an honor student and played piano at student assemblies. He earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary and special education from Buffalo State Teachers College in 1964.
Mr. Berry began his teaching career in the New York City schools, instructing orthopedically disabled children from 1964 to 1970.
“He loved New York City,” his sister-in-law, Roseann Berry, said. “He loved going to the museums, the churches, the musicals.”
He returned to teach at Niagara-Wheatfield, but traveled frequently to New York, often by train. He was a longtime member of the Metropolitan Opera Guild.
He also enjoyed ocean travel and took more than two dozen cruises.
After retiring in 1997, Mr. Berry worked part-time for Orleans/Niagara BOCES for many years as a teacher for students who were hospitalized or confined to their homes by illness.
At one time, his sister-in-law said, he was offered a job teaching the children of circus performers, but he declined.
An Amherst resident, he was a member of the Sertoma Club and was a longtime volunteer at the Buffalo Zoo.
Survivors include a brother, Scott; three nephews; and several cousins.
A celebration of Mr. Barry's life will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday in the Wendelville Fire Co. Hall, 7340 Campbell Blvd., Pendleton.
Story topics: Niagara-Wheatfield Central School