Obituary: Frank D. Berry

Frank D. Berry, MD, died Feb. 2 in his Los Altos home. He was 101 years old. He died peacefully, in his sleep, after a very brief illness. He was born during the pandemic of 1919. He died during the pandemic of 2021 (although not of Covid).

Taken in 2009, on his 90th birthday

Dr. Berry practiced medicine for more than 40 years, as an ophthalmologist, based in Los Altos. In the 60s and 70s He was known all along the west coast as one of the best eye surgeons in several states. Patients flew from as far as Seattle and Los Angeles to have him to their surgeries. He was one of the first eye surgeons to do corneal transplants back in the early 1960s. In 1955, Dr. Berry was the first chairman of the Medical Advisory Committee for the El Camino Hospital District. That committee began the work that led eventually to the creation of El Camino Hospital, in Mt. View, CA.

El Camino Gavel
Chairman of the first El Camino Hospital Advisory Committee

Born in Worcester MA, Berry grew up in Milford MA and graduated from Milford High School, Holy Cross College, medical school at Tufts University, and in ophthalmology at the Illinois Eye and Ear Institute. He enlisted in the US Army during World War II, and served as a medical officer during that war and the war in Korea. He married Jean O’Neill in 1945, Frank and Jean and their children lived in Washington state, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Virginia, and Illinois before they settled in Los Altos CA in 1953, where they raised their family.

He was an Army captain

After Jean died in 1988, he married Elizabeth Dunn in 1989 and they lived happily together, in their home in Los Altos, until Elizabeth died in 2011.

Dr. Berry remained vigorous throughout his 100+-year-life. He was well known at the Los Altos Golf and Country Club, where he was the oldest living member until his death. He played tennis well into his 90s, and was active in online bridge and stock trading up to the last week before he died. He and Nora Buys, now 96, were loving companions after Elizabeth died.

He is survived by four children: Frank Berry Jr., of Mountain View, CA; Timothy Berry, of Eugene, OR; John Berry, of Forestville, CA; and Martha Berry Dannis, or Hillsborough, CA.

Top 10 Greatest Sports Movies

Here is the first Berry Family Column which will go under the name of “Berry Interesting Times”, or BIT. We’ll see how long it lasts. Just as long as no one gets their knickers in a twist, it’ll be okay. As the Bowery Boys might say: “it’ll be copacetic.”

The 10 greatest Sports Movies of all time.

I will list them with commentary, and make some brief remarks on those films you think have been on the list, but simply rise to the Maynard G Wiz standards. Here goes: we’ll slowly ascend to the number one, and there will be the drum roll before it.

  • 10.– Field of Dreams; a nice movie, dramatic, the hero’s journey, he’s a laughingstock all that, too metaphysical. Kind of dopey that way. Ridiculous if you have this any higher up than 10.
  • 9.– Million Dollar Baby; solid film. Clint and the actress who plays the boxer are fantastic. A little too melodramatic in a sad sack way towards end, and there’s an obvious PC Hollywood agenda relating to euthanasis. Hard to go wrong with Clint, the raspy-voiced, official icon of American street wisdom. 
  • 8.–Hoop Dreams- very gripping documentary. Documentaries count, but a real sports movie is fictional. Very fine film, though.
  • 7.– When we were Kings— about Ali’s rumble in the jungle. Love this film, and the socio-historical weirdness that sticks to it. Best sports documentary of all time.
  • 6. —Somebody up there likes me— Paul Newman throws out the finest all-time performance in a sports film. Oops, I forget about fast Eddie, oh well. Oh, well, if I do a list of this kind sometime in future, I’ll remember to put it on. Hey, I’m family right, so don’t be critical. Be nice even if you have to fake it. Rocky Graziano and Tony Zale– what a body puncher. What a rugged world, and Newman shows depth in this role. Hey, he is better than Fast Eddie. More vulnerable.
  • 5. — Rush– This is a completely engrossing film about two fiendishly obsessed rival race car drivers. Unforgettable. Great racing scenes. See it!
  • 4. Hoosiers—  I’m an honorary hoosier. I love the state. Hackman and Dennis Hopper are fantastic. The little team that could. Cheezy as hell, but they serve cheeze in Heaven, or I think they do. This is heavenly cheeze. You don’t doubt this film– it sticks to your ribs like a good BBQ sampler’s plate. If you haven’t seen this, it’s a must. See it again if you’ve seen it before!
  • 3. Rocky– A lot of people make fun of this film, but they’re suffering from rectal cranial inversion syndrome. The Rockies went down hill like Elephants on roller skates, but the first Rocky rocks. It’s all the slice of Philly kind of accoutrements that make the film. Hero’s journey, and formula, but this movie sings its own unforgettable, unique tune. For being so obviously mythic, it’s so perfectly real.
  • 2. Coach Carter— magnificent film. Samuel Jackson plays a very old school, guy who turns a basketball team around in Richmond, California. Jackson’s performance is his finest. Forget about Tarentino and all that. He’s Coach Carter for all time. The fundamental things apply in the coach’s world, and, of course, they always apply.
  • 1. Remember the Titans and McFarland . Don’t throw anything at your screen, it’ll be okay. I know! I know! I did one of the worst things a human being can do. I created a tie for first place! Still, I had to. Both of these films have to be number one.  Denzell in Titans is other-worldly good. His best role, though Training Day might tie for that. The Titans film is the all time feel-good sports film of all time, with great characters, situations, Denzell, the works. Based like Coach Carter on real life. McFarland is a huge winner. Kevin Costner plays the saintly coach, and the kids are beaten down Latino kids who live in small town near Fresno. A very emotional film. My kids in the film class adored this film.  It’s the best Latino cinderella story outside of Stand and Deliver. The teacher in that film, Olmos, delivers a Hall of Fame performance.

Okay, I’m tired typing. Hope you enjoyed first BIT. Wasn’t too wordy. WQ is about 58.  Remember, this is the FINAL WORD! Oh, yeah, there are some films that are contenders, but they didn’t make the list, so screw em!

Why I Write

Chris Brogan writes Want to Know the Real Reason Why You Write on his copyblogger blog. He’s one of the best, and one of the best known, bloggers. He has hundreds of thousands of subscribers.

I got to thinking about it when a commenter on a previous post said that most people would love to write because there’s some kind of natural pull towards writing. I was also intrigued when I saw that established and well known bloggers Holly Hoffman and Jamie Harrop both started up brand new blogs last week, with subjects close to their hearts.

“Why?” He asks. Because what they were doing, the blogs they’d built, helped them discover their real voices. But they weren’t their real voices.

That’s a lot of what blogging could be about. Chris continues…

Think about it for a moment. What are you speaking with before you find your voice? What are you saying and what message are you delivering? And just who are you being before you find your voice?

Before that happens your writing will be more constructed, abstracted, intellectualized. It’ll probably feel more of a struggle to get the words onto the page for the simple reason that you’re missing something fundamental.


Both Holly and Jamie mentioned this very thing when explaining their need to start a new blog – that they needed to write about what they really wanted to write about, and to get a better fit by moving away from the constraints of their previous blog.

My main blogging is about business. I work to build traffic. This blog is for us. I wish we used it more.


Rain, rain, rain. A beautiful view from the 53rd floor. The first day was just cloudy, the second day rained all day, and we had work to do at the ASBDC. I was told that Leo especially loved the Science and Art museum, which was full of trains.

Then I went home and they went to Maine.



Strange weather for Chicago in the first week of September.

Tears in Heaven

It was dark. Sometime in 1994 or early 1995. Probably Spring of 1995, come to think of it, an April trip, we stayed at Sunriver, it was cold. Too cold to do much. But that’s not the point.1995Megan95.jpg

We drove through Bend, business 97, at night, in surprisingly heavy traffic (for Bend). Cristin and Megan were in the back seat. We played Eric Clapton’s “tears in heaven” from a CD.

After the song finished, in the moment of silence that followed, we heard very quiet sobbing in the back seat. It was Megan.

“Megan! What’s Wrong? What happened?

“I miss Paul,” she said. She was about as old as she looks in this picture.

You can click the audio icon here to play that song …