Thomas "Tommy" Henry Berry

- April 9, 2024

Thomas “Tommy” Henry Berry, 78, of Madison, Virginia, died Tuesday, April 9, 2024. Tommy was born in Charlottesville, Virginia, on November 6, 1946, to the late Thornton Lancaster and Nancy DeJarnette Berry. Tommy was preceded in death by his brother, the Hon. Edward DeJarnette Berry. He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Bettie Mahan Berry; daughters Clarissa Thornton Berry; Elizabeth Berry Mawyer and husband, James Carlton Mawyer, and their three children: Thornton, Henry, and Matilda; his sister, Nancy B. Coppedge and husband Dennis L. Coppedge; his sister in law, Sarah “Essie” M. Berry and many nieces and nephews. 

Some of Tommy’s best friends were his first cousins, the DeJarnettes. Together, along with the Witherows, Powells, and Marshalls, they grew up together on the farm, in town, and on vacations. Those were some of his most cherished memories. He is survived by some of his best friends; specifically, William “Billy” Powell and Spencer DeJarnette. He was preceded in death by two dear friends and mentors: Coleman Clore and William “Bill” Hall. 

Tommy loved few things more than his wife, Bettie. From the first time they met when he stopped to ask about the corvette at her house, to their first date that ended with feeding cows in a snowstorm, all the way until the end as his dementia progressed—she was always his “best girlfriend.” He was exceptionally proud of his two daughters as both went into careers where they could make a difference and help others. Nothing, however, could hold a candle to his grandchildren. He loved spending time with them tinkering on lawnmowers and cars, getting lunch at the Wolftown Store, and telling stories about Roachie Booten and other tall tales. 

His jobs were as varied as his interests. He farmed, was the first zoning administrator of Madison County, owned a gas station, was a real estate agent, ran a used car dealership, operated the Madison DMV, carried the mail, and (perhaps most importantly) worked at Berry’s Grill. He coached youth football before his daughters were born, and he helped his father with the Madison Blue Jays baseball team. Some of his happiest memories were working on old cars and being at car races—first with Bill Hall and Mike Clore; then with his cousins: Spencer, Billy, and David DeJarnette. Even after the Grill closed, he joined the Madison Young Farmers and kept flipping Berry Burgers. 

Tommy rarely met a stranger. He was often the last to leave family gatherings, and he loved nothing more than a long conversation that included following folks to the car. He was generous, fun to be around, a good friend to many, and was quick to help someone in need. He impressed upon his daughters and grandchildren to always do the right thing as he strived in life to “treat people as you want to be treated”. Every day he was quick to tell them: “Have I told you today? I love you.”

His family is deeply appreciative of the loving and excellent care provided by Countryside Assisted Livng in Pratts. He loved being there, and the wonderful staff was the biggest reason.

The family will receive visitors on Friday, April 12, 2024, from 6 pm until 8 pm at Preddy’s Funeral Home in Madison. A funeral and celebration of life will be Saturday, April 13, 2024, at 11:00 am at Madison Presbyterian Church at Rt. 29 and Fishback Rd. 

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Madison Young Farmers at P.O. Box 1063, Madison, Va. 22727 or Hoover Ridge Outdoor Recreation Center at P.O. Box 435, Madison, Va. 22727.