The Collegeville Fire Company is saddened to announce the passing of Eugene Berry, Past Assistant Fire Chief and Life Member.
Eugene F. “Gene” Berry passed away on September 13, 2020 after a short but valiant fight with pancreatic cancer. He was just 4 months shy of his 92 birthday. He was born in Philadelphia, PA and grew up in Evansburg, PA. He leaves behind his loving wife (and high school sweetheart) of 70 years, Jeanne French Berry. A devoted daughter and son: Kathy Rosset (Patrick Forney) of Marshalls Creek, PA and son Steven Berry (Robbie MacLean) of Norristown, PA. He enjoyed watching his four grandsons grow up: Jaime MacDonough of Marshalls Creek, PA; Nathan MacDonough of Minisink Hills, PA; Steven Berry of Santa Monica, CA and Christopher Berry of Honolulu, HI. He was adored by his two great grandsons, Landen and Dagney MacDonough of Marshalls Creek, PA who will surely miss their Granpapa. He is also survived by his sister, Joan Moyer of Turnersville, NJ, cousins, nieces, nephews and wonderful friends in the U.S. and Canada. He was predeceased in death by his parents, Eugene and Thelma Berry, and his sisters, Lenore Monaghan and Mildred Moran. Throughout his career at Collegeville-Trappe High School, he was known as Butch Berry and excelled at sports: baseball, captain of the football team, and a member of the state basketball champion team in 1947. Gene was a volunteer for civil defense during World War II, active in Boy Scouts and a coach for the Stearly/Pop Warner football teams. He played for Superior Tube Company Main Line League and for Collegeville in the Perkiomen Twilight League. He was a semi-professional football player for the Perkiomen Indians and semi-professional basketball for the Raiders. Once he graduated from high school, he started his working life at E.R. Schantz, Inc. Eventually, he bought the business and ran it until his retirement 35 years ago. Gene belonged to the Roaring Branch Hunting Club Tioga County, PA where he hunted for almost 70 years. He is a 32nd degree Mason and Master Mason. He was a lifetime member of the Collegeville Fire Company and spent many sleepless nights as a volunteer for them and the Trappe Ambulance. He belonged to the Collegeville Rotary Club, Lion’s Club, National Rifle Association, Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry and was on the Skippack Planning Commission for five years. He and Jeanne traveled to Europe four times with friends. While in Mexico, he climbed some pyramids and that evening got up on a nightclub stage and sang “When the Saints go Marching In”. Gene was happiest outdoors in nature. He would throw footballs and baseballs to his children for hours on end. He downhill skied in the Poconos and fished and ice skated on the Skippack Creek. For many years, he and the family boated, camped, and waterskied on the Elk River in Maryland. He hunted in the Sawtooth Mountains by horseback in the snow. He was dropped above the Arctic Circle three times to fish and hunt. He learned to scuba dive and dove the Caribbean scouring ship wrecks. He loved to golf and play handball and racquet ball. Gene was an avid big game hunter- as can be witnessed by seeing the elk, moose, and caribou hanging in his garage (because they weren’t allowed in the house). His prize was a large Kodiak bear (his pelt lives in the basement!). He is known as the “fish whisperer” by his fishing mates (Stephane and Jost) on Newboro Lake, Ontario, Canada, where he and his wife have spent the summers for the past 50 years. He was an expert filleter of largemouth bass and his fish fries are legendary on Hungry Bay/ Newboro Lake. Due to Covid 19, the funeral will be private for the family. In lieu of flowers, contributions would be welcomed to the Shriners Hospitals for Children— Philadelphia, Attn: Development Office, 3551 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19140 “Keep close to Nature’s heart…..and break clean away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirt clean.” –John Muir