Everyone at Cowsmo would like to send our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Bill.
William John (Bill) Berry passed away Monday, July 4, 2022 in Langley, BC, at age 97 of natural causes. He was from a Pioneer family in Langley, having lived at Belmont Farms on Old Yale Road for most of his life.
The second of Harry and Vera Berry’s six children, Bill was involved in 4-H and dairy judging from a young age, and later became an official Holstein judge, travelling to dairy shows to judge cattle for many years. While growing up, Bill was actively involved with the Young People’s group at Sharon United Church (United Churches of Langley) and remained affiliated with the Church at the five corners in Murrayville for life. A natural athlete, he played soccer and baseball in the local area, and reminisced that he would milk the cows, change clothes, and head to the ball field, often joining the game after the first inning! He also played competitive badminton and tennis. Bill joined the RCAF and graduated training as a pilot and a tail gunner in 1944, although Pacific hostilities ended before he shipped overseas. He attended the University of British Columbia for 2 years in animal sciences before returning home to work on the family farm. In the late 1940s Bill was one of 10 UBC students on a crew overseeing the care of 800 pure-bred Canadian dairy cattle and 90 hogs shipped to Shanghai, China. The livestock was housed on the deck of a freighter, and the crossing was very stormy, which presented considerable challenges for those few cattlemen who, like Bill, did not succumb to seasickness!
Bill was dedicated to improving herd standards and diligent with the Purebred Holstein breeding program at Belmont Farms, focussed on improving milk production while working towards high quality, true type cattle. He was very active in agricultural committees and associations over the years, serving as President of the BC Holstein-Friesen Association from 1956 to 1959, a director of the BC Artificial Insemination Center (now WestGen) from 1967 to 1971, and on the Livestock Committee of the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE). For several decades he was involved with the Fraser River Dyking Commission, monitoring water levels in the Salmon River in Langley. He had a knack for fixing almost anything and an intimate knowledge of the farm property where he remained active until his early 90s.
Bill married Mildred Reid in November of 1947 and welcomed son Douglas (Doug) in late 1948, son Robert (Bob) in 1949, and daughter Donna in 1952. Bill and Mildie enjoyed many years square dancing with their friends in the local club, the Buttons and Bows. They travelled to Ireland, to the Panama Canal for their 50th wedding anniversary, and visited their children and family around B.C. and in other provinces. Bill played cards well into his 80’s and spent most Monday evenings playing bridge with brothers Dick and Chub, and other friends who played at the same high level as they did. Bill was soft-spoken and quiet, with a ready sense of humour and courtesy. In his later years he enjoyed visiting and reminiscing with family and friends, reading and watching sports on tv.
Predeceased by his wife Mildie and son Bob, his parents Harry and Vera, siblings Helen, Edward (Ted), Richard (Dick), and Gordon (Chub), Bill is survived by his children: son Doug, daughter-in-law Lisa, daughter Donna (Bryan); 9 grandchildren: David (Shelley), Curtis (Brittani), Colin (Niccolai), Cameron (Rakshana); Steven (Dafne), Karyn (Daniel), Kevin; Alyson (Mark) and Barry (Christina); and 6 great- grandchildren: Taylor and Lennon, Sebastian, Brooklyn, and Mackenzie and William. Also survived by his sister Jean Hope, Bill is remembered by a large extended family.
The family would like to thank Dr. Leslie Sank and his partners for their care, as well as the Staff at Harrison Pointe and Magnolia Gardens for their kindness and care during Bill’s time at those residences.
In accordance with Bill’s wishes there will be no Memorial service. Donations, in memory of Bill, may be made to the charity of your choice.