Phifer Erwin Berry

December 3, 1933 - January 10, 2024

Phifer Erwin Berry, III

Businessman, athlete and child of Christ, Phifer Erwin Berry, III (Erwin) passed away in his home on Wednesday morning, January 10, 2023, at the age of 90 after an extended period of ill health. His wife of more than 67 years, Joan Bess Berry, was by his side. He was preceded in death by his parents, Dr. and Mrs. Phifer Erwin Berry, Jr.

After spending his childhood days in West Virginia, Erwin enlisted in the United States Army during the Korean War. He was stationed in Japan and served in the Army Security Agency (ASA). After serving honorably, Erwin resumed his studies after discharge at Potomac State College and then Fairmont State University.

Erwin began his professional career as co-owner of Patterson Boat Company and Marina of Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, where he sold and serviced Chris-Craft boats. He was most proud of his work as an executive in the hotel and restaurant industry. Erwin’s contributions began at Marriott International Corporation in the early 1960s. At Marriott he learned the importance of building flexible organizational structures, sustaining positive organizational behaviors, while remaining customer-centric and committed to the needs of all employees. After a successful tenure at Marriott, Erwin moved his family to Rocky Mount, North Carolina where he dedicated his professional interests as Senior Vice President of Personnel and Labor Relations at Hardee's Food Systems. At Hardee’s, Erwin remained committed to his profession, enjoyed collaborating and serving alongside his peers, while devoting his efforts to serving others and achieving strategic business objectives. Thereafter, Erwin used his knowledge and experience to teach and guide others the concepts of hotel and food service management at North Carolina Wesleyan College, as a business consultant, and later as a small business owner.

In 1990, Erwin and Joan retired to Wintergreen Resort, Virginia where Erwin continued his consulting practice and served on several boards of directors. He was devotedly involved in his churches, always serving and leading committees, including Elder, Trustee and choir member. This service inspired him to write The Alban Personnel Handbook for Congregations, Alban Institute, (1999).

Erwin is survived by his wife, Joan, five children (Erwin Berry of Dunmore, West Virginia; Terri Rooks of High Point, North Carolina; Beth Vawter of York, South Carolina; Tom Berry of Charlottesville, Virginia; and Bruce Berry of Rocky Mount, North Carolina), 13 grandchildren, eight great grandchildren.

Memorial services will be held at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Waynesboro Virginia on January 20th, 2024 at 1:00 pm. Details will be posted on the McDow Funeral Home’s website. Erwin’s private family interment will be at the Culpeper National Cemetery in late January 2024. In lieu of flowers or other gifts, the family encourages those interested to contribute to the Medi House Hospice of Charlottesville or the Westminster Presbyterian Church of Waynesboro.