Mr. Coburn Dewees Berry III
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Mr. Coburn Dewees Berry III

November 21, 1922 - April 01, 2012

Mr. Coburn Dewees Berry III

November 21, 1922 - April 01, 2012

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Obituary for Mr. Coburn Dewees Berry III

BERRY III, Coburn Dewees died on Palm Sunday, April 1, 2012, in Franklin, after a brief illness. He was 89. His wife of 51 years, Sue Douglas Berry, predeceased him. Mr. Berry was born in Nashville, the son of the late William Tyler Berry and Mary Washington Tillman Berry. He was descended from pioneer families of Middle Tennessee. He grew up on a farm on Franklin Road and attended Peabody Demonstration School, entering Vanderbilt University in 1939 at the age of 16. He obtained an A.B. degree in economics from Vanderbilt in 1943, where he was a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. Mr. Berry attended law school at Washington University in St. Louis and was graduated in 1948 from Vanderbilt Law School, where he was a staff member of the Vanderbilt Law Review and member of Phi Delta Phi legal fraternity. He married Sue Bradley Douglas in 1950. In 1952 they moved to the family farm on West Harpeth Road, south of Franklin, where they raised five children: Coburn Dewees Berry IV (Kathy) of Franklin, Douglas Berry (Ray) of Nashville, William Tyler Berry III of Franklin and Mexico City, Mary Susan Berry Kennedy (Delk), of Columbia, and Amanda McNairy Berry Moody (Barry) of Nashville, all of whom survive. Grandchildren are: Sam Delk Kennedy III, Mary Susan Berry Kennedy, John Kirkman Berry, Davis Pappandreou Berry, Coburn Dewees Berry V (“Skip”), Hamilton Douglas Berry, Claire Purcell Berry, Alexander Smith Berry, Sue Bradley Moody, and Patrick Barry Moody. Mr. Berry was the acknowledged dean of the Williamson County Bar. He practiced law for over 60 years in Nashville and Franklin and was known for his expertise in real property, trust, probate, and municipal law. He loved being a lawyer and was the quintessential Chancery practitioner--scholarly, courteous, and fair. A former adversary from a long-ago lawsuit, who met one of his sons by chance in Franklin a few years ago, said simply,“ I thought he was everything a lawyer ought to be.”In the early 1960s, Mr. Berry and several friends started First Franklin Federal, the first savings and loan in Williamson County, where he served as a board member for many years. He was a member of the Belle Meade Country Club and Davy Crockett Hunting Club. Mr. Berry heeded the poet’s admonition to “not go gentle into that good night.” He hunted ducks into his seventies, played golf into his eighties, scoring a hole in one at 84, and practiced law until shortly before his death. He loved Shakespeare, the western novels of Louis L’Amour, the operas of Richard Wagner, the big bands, beagles and boxers, cartoons (particularly his own and those in the New Yorker), the St. Louis Cardinals and the Vanderbilt Commodores, breakfast at Dotson’s Restaurant, eggplant parmesan, the daily Jumble, his Sunday school class, and dry martinis. Mr. Berry lived to see Vanderbilt win an SEC Tournament basketball championship over Kentucky and to see his Cardinals win one last World Series. His Victorian-style, pen and ink Christmas Cards, with photographs of his children pasted into holiday scenes, were classics. In later life, he continued to illustrate invitations to family holiday celebrations and to the Presbyterian Church picnic. Even as his health declined, he entertained the nurses and staff at the rehabilitation center with cartoons poking fun at the loss of dignity that comes with old age. Mr. Berry was a long-time member of the Presbyterian Church, USA, in which he was ordained as a ruling elder and served as clerk of the session. He and Sue Berry were charter members of the Historic Franklin Presbyterian Church. A memorial service will be held at Historic Franklin Presbyterian Church on Thursday, April 5, 2012, at 11:00 A.M. Visitation with the family will be on Wednesday, April 4, from 4:00 P.M. until 7:00 P.M. and one hour before the service on Thursday, also at the Church. Memorial contributions may be made to the Historic Franklin Presbyterian Church. WILLIAMSON MEMORIAL FUNERAL HOME, 615-794-2289. www.williamsonmemorial.com

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  • 3009 Columbia Avenue
    Franklin, TN
    37064
  • 615-794-2289
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