Margaret Jean Smith Berry, of Lynchburg, Virginia went to be with her heavenly father on Aug 11, 2023, at the age of 93 years old. She is preceded in death by her husband of 71 years, Samuel C. Berry.
She is also preceded in death by her father, Oscar Washington and mother, Henrietta Smith; her sister, Nancy Sue (Smith) Fenn, and granddaughter, Stephanie Claire Berry.
She is survived by sons; James Edward Berry and his wife, Amy from Troy, Va., Dr. David Steven Berry, Sr. from Lynchburg, Va, and COL (Ret) Jonathan Douglas Berry and his wife, COL. (Ret) Denise Pond Berry of Bedford, Va.
She is also survived by her grandchildren, David S. Berry, Jr., Ryan E. Berry, and his wife, Dr. Elizabeth Berry, Racheal (Berry) Besecker and her husband, Dustin Besecker, Jonathan D. Berry, Jr., and his wife, Lauren (Lemon) Berry, and Jeremy D. Berry and his wife, Julie (Jordan) Berry, and Aidan J. Berry.
Margaret was born in Rose Hill, Virginia (Lee County) where she was active in her community and Morgan Memorial Church. She graduated from Thomas Walker High School in 1948 where she lettered in women’s basketball. She entered Emory and Henry College, Emory, Virginia, in 1948 and graduated in 1951 with a bachelor’s degree in Education, with graduate studies at the University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida. She taught school for almost two decades in Charlottesville, Virginia, teaching Music and English at the Elementary and Middle School levels.
A woman of true faith, she always put God first in everything she did as most who knew her affectionately called her “Saint Margaret” for her Godly love that she openly shared. Regardless of any situation, she would simply say, “Let’s just Praise the Lord Anyway.”
Her passion and Godly gift was music; the daughter of a high school music teacher, in her leisure time, she could be found sitting at the keys of a piano making beautiful music. Countless young boys and girls learned to play the piano in Charlottesville, Virginia where she taught music. She was also known to participate in larger scale performances as an accompanying concert pianist with the Charlottesville and University of Virginia Orchestras.
After retirement, she enjoyed the family’s farm in Afton, Virginia, tending to gardens, canning vegetables, and helping with the cattle. She loved her grandchildren and story times that she shared with each of them. In recent years, she became less active and unable to participate in her passions; though she said she lived a long and productive life, praising God for all her many blessings he has showed upon her. Margaret’s one wish in her final days was that her family and friends would come to know the love of Jesus Christ, accepting God into their lives; to “get to know him, love him and serve him” as long as they shall live.
There will be a private family ceremony and interment at the Gibson-Smith Cemetery in Lee County, Va. at a date to be determined. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the National Alzheimer’s Foundation, 322 Eighth Ave, 16th Floor, New Floor, New York, New York 10001.
Tharp Funeral Home & Crematory, Lynchburg, is assisting the family.