Memorial bench: Remembering ‘Sonny’ thoughts

HE LABORED HARD FOR THOSE HE LOVED — then left us all to remember. Those words will be inscribed on a granite bench honoring the live of Howard “Sonny” Berry Jr. of Bridgton.

HE LABORED HARD FOR THOSE HE LOVED — then left us all to remember. Those words will be inscribed on a granite bench honoring the live of Howard “Sonny” Berry Jr. of Bridgton.

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

It’s been several years, but tears still come to Melissa Berry’s eyes when she talks about losing her father, Howard “Sonny” Berry Jr., to cancer and heart failure.

Her father worked for the town of Bridgton in multiple positions after retiring from the U.S. Navy Seabees in the mid 1960s. He was employed at the Bridgton Water District for many years, Pleasant Mountain, the Bridgton Library as a maintenance man for 25 years, while working for the Bridgton Public Works Department until his retirement in 2010.

He left behind his wife Donna, four daughters: Tracy Berry, 48, Lisa Berry, 46, Dawn Reiman, 44, and Melissa, 39, six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

“We miss him every day, and really think everyone in Bridgton should know the man that he was, the lifetime commitment he gave to this country and this town, as well as his role as a wonderful father, brother, husband, grandfather and great-grandfather,” Berry said.

“He devoted his life to his family, as well as the town of Bridgton. Our dad worked every day, never called out, or took vacations; he planned and saved for his family,” Berry said. “Our dad was the hardest-working man we ever knew, and I think we all can admire his devotion to Bridgton, his hometown.”

With that sentiment in mind, the family has received permission from the Bridgton Public Library to install a granite bench on their property this fall in his honor. Sonny was a very humble man, and most likely would have discouraged the idea. But, to Melissa, nothing could be more perfect than a granite bench, which will include a back.

“It’s something solid — something that’s going to last,” she said, “and will keep his memory alive for family and friends.” The bench will be inscribed with the words, “He labored hard for those he loved, then left us all to remember." The library will be renovating the parking lot area this summer to include a green space, and that is where the bench will go. A dedication ceremony will be held sometime this fall.

The family has created an online fundraiser on www.gofundme.com to help raise the estimated $2,000 cost for creation and delivery of the bench, and they are asking for the public’s help. They have set up a Howard Berry Memorial Fund trust account in his name at Norway Savings Bank, and donations can be made at any branch of the bank or through the Go Fund Me website.

The website is also the place where anyone who knew Sonny is encouraged to post their comments or special memories of him, including any pictures that will celebrate his life. A video from his funeral service is already up on the page, which is accessible by entering the name Howard Berry in the search bar. Anyone with questions may call Melissa at 553-0033.

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