|Birth: ||Oct. 15, 1914|
|Death: ||Aug. 25, 1999|
FORT WORTH - Louin Berry Jr., a Fort Worth aviation pioneer, died Wednesday, Aug. 25, 1999, at a Burleson nursing center. He was 84.
Funeral: 10 a.m. Saturday at Blessing Colonial Chapel, 401 Elm St. in Mansfield. The Rev. Mike Ramsdell will officiate, assisted by Mr. Berry's nephews, the Rev. John Wayne Reynolds of San Angelo and the Rev. Kent Berry of Moody. Burial: Mount Olivet Cemetery.
Visitation: 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at the funeral home.
Memorials: Building Fund at First United Methodist Church of Mansfield or Fort Worth Aviation Museum.
Louin Berry Jr. was born Oct. 15, 1914, in Fort Worth. He was the son of Louin Berry Sr. and Emma Jane Chollar Berry and was a graduate of Central High School.
Mr. Berry's flight career began in 1933, after he took a five-minute ride at Meacham Field one Sunday afternoon in an old 600 Travel-Air plane. He noticed an ad reading "Learn to fly for $39.50."
A few months later, he flew solo in a 1930 Curtiss Pusher and obtained his commercial license four years later. He went to work for Ritchey Flying Service at Meacham, carrying thrillseekers for five-minute rides. In 1934, he bought a Waco bi-plane and began a barnstorming career that lasted five years. Before his death, Mr. Berry recalled that he and his two friends, Ab Hatch and Slouch Holden, would take their planes out over some small town in the late afternoon and dive, swoop and rolluntil people gathered below to watch. Then they would drop notices advertising an air show the following day. They would rent a farmer's field for about $10, rent a room in town for 50 cents and arrange for fuel and refreshments the next day. They sold tickets offering rides to children for 50 cents, adults for 75 cents and "rough rides for $1.00."
Mr. Berry's shows included daredevil parachute jumps by another friend, Dick Roberson. Mr. Berry recalled one time he took two West Texas cowboys on a "rough ride" flight and tried every type of acrobatics, including spins, rolls and wingovers, but the cowboys were unimpressed and complained when they landed. Mr. Berry said he knew he had to do something more exciting for the next two passengers, so he hid the seat belts in the front cockpit and took off. After he had reached a substantialaltitude, he nosed into a steep dive, and those two cowboys got the ride of their lives when they came halfway out of the cockpit. Mr. Berry said that day sealed his reputation for "rough rides" and "thrills."
In 1939, Mr. Berry contracted with fledgling Delta Air Lines as a crop duster. He flew over Monroe, La., cotton fields at 70 mph. With the help of Delta's president, Mr. Berry obtained a contract with the Civil Aeronautics Authority, now FAA, and opened his own flying school, instructing students at Northeast Junior College, a branch of Louisiana State University. He returned to Fort Worth and opened a similar program at TCU and then went to work for American Airlines in 1941, flying DC-3s from Dallas to Los Angeles with air time lasting seven hours, 55 minutes.
During World War II, Mr. Berry flew with the Air Transport Command, but returned to American Airlines after the war, where he obtained the rank of captain. He flew Convair 240s, DC-4s and DC-6s until he retired in 1950. He returned to Fort Worth, bought his parents' summer home at Lake Worth and went into the used car business. He later purchased the family business, Fort Worth Loan & Finance Co., which his father had started in downtown Fort Worth in 1910. He moved the finance company andhis car business to Northeast 28th Street, when the city of Fort Worth bought the 14th Street location downtown for the Water Gardens in the early 1960s. Mr. Berry remained active in the used car business until his retirement in 1998.
Mr. Berry was a member of the United Methodist Church, the Allied Pilots Association, the Grey Eagles and the OX5 Aviation Pioneers. He was predeceased by his wives, Helen Ewing Berry and Frances Pulsifer Berry; a brother, John C. Berry; and a great-grandson, Michael John Berry Jr.
Survivors: Son, Louin Berry III and his wife, Barbara, of Mansfield; grandchildren, Michael John Berry of Burleson, Steven Mark Berry of Plano and Kimberly Lynne Lindsey and her husband, Mikel, of Mansfield;great-grandchildren, Danielle Dey Berry and Joseph Louin Berry, both of Hurst, and Morgan Leeann Lindsey of Mansfield; sisters, Betty Berry Klein of New York and Jane Reynolds Temple of Burleson; friend, Bertie Gates of Lake Worth; two nieces;and five nephews.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram (TX)
Date: August 27, 1999
Edition: FINAL AM
A. Louin Berry (1883 - 1952)
Emma Jane Chollar Berry (1887 - 1969)
A. Louin Berry (1914 - 1999)
Jane Reynolds Berry Temple (1919 - 2009)*
John Chollar Berry (1925 - 1992)*
Mount Olivet Cemetery
Created by: Texas Roots
Record added: Sep 03, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 96471449
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Central (Paschal) High School|
Added: Sep. 3, 2012