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.

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 …