|Birth: ||Jun. 28, 1898|
|Death: ||Jul. 23, 2001|
~♥~ 103 years, 0 months, 28 days ~♥~
Thursday, August 2, 2001
THORNDALE - Funeral services for Grace Davis Berry, 103, of Thorndale, were held Saturday, July 28, 2001 at 11 a.m. at the First Baptist Church in Thorndale. Burial followed in the nearby Locklin Cemetery. She died Monday, July 23, 2001.
Mrs. Berry was born June 28, 1898, near San Gabriel, to James Theodore and Minnie Louise Fulcher. She was preceded in death by her parents, her sister, Gladys and her brother, Theo.
Mrs. Berry, in the first few minutes on New Year's Day, 2000, exclaimed, "I made it!" She was referring to the awesome fact that she had lived in three centuries.
Mrs. Berry grew up in Thorndale and was the valedictorian of her graduating class in 1915. She married Charles A. Davis on her 19th birthday, June 28, 1917. Their two sons, Keith and Neil, were born in the home that she continued to live in until the day she left to be with the Lord. She was widowed during the Depression. To provide for her family she worked in a dry goods store, took boarders into her home and supervised a community canning operation.
On May 18, 1941 she married James L Berry. They were able to celebrate over 40 years together. Mrs. Berry worked in the main cashier's cage in Monnig's Department Store during the 17 years they lived in Fort Worth.
Upon returning to Thorndale, Mrs. Berry began her 39-year devotion to the Thorndale Champion newspaper. She continued to work as a reporter until retiring on her 102nd birthday. Mrs. Berry's centenarian employment impressed all who knew her or heard about this accomplishment. She was honored with a segment on The Texas Country Reporter television show, numerous TV interviews, several phone calls from the David Letterman Show and news releases from the Associated Press to many statewide publications.
Mrs. Berry was a member of the Thorndale First Baptist Church and served her church and community in many capacities during her life. She was honored by being Thorndale's Outstanding Citizen in 1988 and enjoyed riding in various convertibles as Grand Marshal for numerous Thorndale parades. She loved to crochet and gave most of her colorful afghans as gifts or donated them to local raffles and fund raisers.
Mrs. Berry spent hours in her lovely yard and had the ability to make anything grow. She kept her mind active by reading numerous newspapers, doing word puzzles, and reading her devotional and Bible each day. She was known as an encourager, a hard worked and a good listener. She has blessed her family was a legacy of faith, citizenship, daily perseverance and the certainty that they were dearly loved.
Surviving are: Sons, Keith Davis and wife Mary Sue of Thorndale and Neil Davis of Los Alamos, NM; grandchildren, Charles Davis and wife Tina of Cave Creek, AZ, Jean Davis Hejl and husband Allen of Thorndale, Scott Davis and wife Ardis of Mulkilteo, WA, Tim Davis and wife Grace of Spokane, WA and Phil Cates and wife Texana of Odessa; great grandchildren Keith, Sophia Grace, Julie, Keri, Kelli, Jennifer, Kimber, Shanon and Laura.
A project near and dear to Mrs. Berry's heart was to provide scholarships to Thorndale's graduates. Memorial contributions may be made to the Thorndale Ex-Students Scholarship Fund, c/o Doris Campbell, 3872 C.R. 450, Thorndale, TX 76577.
"Even at 103, Grace left us too soon"
By Mike Brown - Reporter Editor
I've thought for a long time about what I'd write when this day came.
And, of course, it was bound to happen sometime. Grace Davis Berry of Thorndale died at the age of 103 last week. Strange to say this about a 103-year-old woman but it seems like she died too soon.
Grace was my friend but then I can't claim anything special there. I can't name you anyone who wasn't Grace's friend. I didn't get to know her until she was well into her 90s.
Of course, the reason I got to know her was that she worked as a family page reporter for the Thorndale Champion, astoundingly, until the age of 102.
In fact, when I called the Champion on the Monday after she turned 100, she answered the phone. So much for taking some time off.
It didn't take long, though, to find out that the real story wasn't about a 100-year-old woman, it was about Grace. When I'd interview her for a story, it was difficult to tell just who was interviewing who.
The line between "interview" and "visit" blurred to the point of invisibility.
It's almost pointless to try and describe her to someone who didn't know her. Maybe all you really need to know about her is that sometimes God grants a long life to someone who really enjoys life for its own sake.
That was Grace. I can see her smile now because I never saw her without it.
Two quick Grace Berry stories. Her sons, who of course have been considered as "elderly" for a while now, lived several states away.
One of them flew to see her a few years ago, taking a plane to Austin. On board, he was "adopted" by a young couple who made it their mission to be sure the elderly gentleman made it to his destination okay.
As they helped him into the terminal, the couple realized they had never asked him the purpose of his trip and inquired, "why did you come to Texas?"
"To see my mother," he said, and toddled off.
As 1999 headed for 2000 we realized Grace was about to join an exclusive club, one composed of people who had lived in three centuries. I interviewed (visited) her and wrote the story, to be published the week after New Year's.
On New Year's Eve, Grace fell ill and had to be taken to the Taylor hospital. On the way, sick as she was, she told her granddaughter, Jean Hejl, "don't tell Mike Brown about this. I've got to make it to midnight!"
By the way, Grace got one of the greatest gifts any person could get. Through the sacrifice, care and love of Jean and husband Allen Hejl, Grace got to live until her final days in her own home, the home she first came to as a new bride during the Woodrow Wilson Administration.
Exactly what the Hejls, and others in Grace's family, gave up in order to make that gift available only they, and God, will ever know. They'll tell you Grace deserved it. And she did.
As I write this, the media is full of eulogies and tributes to Katherine Graham, owner of a media empire that includes the Washington Post and Newsweek.
I have no doubt Mrs. Graham was a great lady. She was certainly a powerful one.
But I believe in those precious things that really counted, Grace Berry was equally a great lady even though she did not topple a president, expand a publishing empire or provide a landmark case on constitutional law.
Funny, but when you come to the end of your life I wonder just how much the "big scale" things mean.
Grace worked hard, survived tragedies, raised two fine sons in the teeth of the Great Depression, kept working hard, enjoyed her friends, made peace with her God, loved her family.
She returned home to Thorndale 40 years ago, and, blessed with good health until the last years, continued to work hard and make people feel good just by being there.
At age 99 she finally became unable to work out in her yard in the blazing Texas summer sun. She was genuinely-trust me, it was genuine-irritated with her body for "letting her down."
"I just can't do the things I used to," she told me.
I'm so glad I got to know Grace Berry. And I'm going to think of her a lot. Because I think of her every time I go into or out of Thorndale on US 79.
The old Brushy Creek railroad bridge was there when Grace was in high school, several years before the first World War.
She told me that the big Sunday afternoon excursion in those days was for Thorndale teens to walk along the railroad tracks out to the trestle, have a picnic and then walk back.
It was a day-long outing. Today that distance can easily be covered in 90 seconds of air-conditioned, piston-pumping comfort.
And I don't know but what Grace and her friends were happier than we are.
Because that was what Grace Berry knew, above all, that happiness is something you make for yourself.
And she did just that.
Bell County, TX - Obits from the Temple Daily Telegram, July, 2001
Saturday, July 28, 2001
BERRY, Grace Davis, 103, Thorndale, 11 a.m., First Baptist Church, Thorndale.
Burial in Locklin Cemetery. Condra Funeral Home, Taylor, in charge.
Grace is a granddaughter of James Henry "Bud" Fulcher and Nancy Victoria Locklin.
Grace had another sister, Gertrude Louise, that died at birth.
James Theodore Fulcher (1873 - 1928)
Minnie Louise Vogel Fulcher Hurt (1873 - 1974)
Charles A. Davis (1874 - 1932)
James Leslie Berry (1895 - 1983)
Keith Davis (1918 - 2002)*
Grace Miriam Fulcher Davis Berry (1898 - 2001)
Gertrude Louise Fulcher (1900 - 1900)*
Gladys Mozelle Fulcher Reynolds (1901 - 1982)*
Theodore Malanethon Fulcher (1904 - 1914)*
GRACE FULCHER DAVIS
JUNE 28, 1898
JULY 23, 2001
Note: Double Marker with husband, James Leslie Berry.
Maintained by: Sarah Locklin Taylor
Originally Created by: Karen Neal Morey
Record added: Oct 17, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 16220306