Graveside services for Claude Alvin "Chuck" Berry are 2:00 pm Tuesday June 7,2016, at Fort Gibson National Cemetery. Officiating will be Brother D.J. Wolf. Final arrangements have been placed in the care of Green Country Funeral Home. Online condolences for the family may be left at tahlequahfuneral.com
Claude Alvin Berry, born in Belton, TX Dec. 24, 1922, to Claude George Berry of Tahlequah, OK and Athena (Vickrey) Berry of Salado, TX died June 4, 2016, at the age of 93. Claude received the nickname of "Chuckles" from his band of US Army Air Corp brothers during WWII for his always positive attitude even in the worst of situations. Chuckles was subsequently shortened to Chuck which he was called by friends and family for the rest of his life.
Chuck grew up in southern Texas and graduated from Breckenridge High School in San Antonio in 1940. Little did he know that responding to a WWII US Army recruiting call to "Learn to Fly" would set the course for the rest of his life. Chuck flew combat gliders in two major campaigns in Europe in WWII, The Battle of the Bulge in Dec, 1944 and Crossing the Rhine in March, 1945.
Chuck came home to Tahlequah after the war where he met the love of his life, Wilma Elizabeth Martin and they were married Dec. 6, 1946. Due to Wilma's strong influence, Chuck became a Christian after the war and they became very active in the Southern Baptist Church for the rest of their lives. Chuck and Wilma were married 68 years when she passed away May 18, 2015.
Chuck graduated from Northeastern State University with a degree in chemistry that provided him the opportunity to have long careers with Halliburton Oil Company and Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. In parallel with his civilian career and raising his family, Chuck remained active in the US Army Reserves. In the early 1950s, he was called up to the Korean War where he flew as a US Army Air Force Liaison Pilot. In the mid 1960s he learned to fly helicopters and volunteered for the Vietnam War where he flew 1000 missions as a Huey helicopter pilot. He was awarded The Bronze Star for meritorious service in Vietnam. Chuck retired as a Lieutenant Colonel and was a very active member of the National WWII Glider Pilot's Association and many other Veteran and Charitable organizations. Chuck was an active member and deacon at Crossway Baptist Church where he was loved by all.
Chuck is survived by his four children, David Martin Berry of Round Rock, TX, Elizabeth Ann Stripling of Woodway, TX, Carolin Jane Berry of Tauntan, MA, and Timothy Martin Berry of Collinsville, OK; his devoted sister and brother, Jill Erikson and Bill Berry of Tahlequah; he is also survived by seven grandchildren, Erin Philip, Andrew Stripling, Patrick Berry, Jacob Berry, Elya Macomber, Heather Craig, and Nathanial Berry; eight great grandchildren, Angelina Berry, Olivia Berry, Eliza Philip, Molly Stripling, Michael Stripling, Charlotte Macomber, Avery Macomber, and Levi Macomber. Like the title of a WWII Glider Pilot song, Chuck would say "Bless Them All".
Chuck's smile and happy disposition will be missed by everyone who knew him.
Published on June 6, 2016