Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, services will be held at a later date.
Thomas E. Berry, 73, of Hampton, Iowa, passed away Tuesday, December 8, 2020, at the MercyOne North Iowa Medical Center in Mason City. Tom was born July 26, 1947, in Mason City, Iowa, to Joseph E. and Mildred (Van Every) Berry.
Tom graduated from Hampton High School in 1965. He was united in marriage to Linda Varrelmann in Latimer, Iowa, on April 29, 1972. Tom served his country in the United States Army. He worked at Northwestern Bell, US West, and Qwest from 1971 to 2002. After retirement, he worked part-time in maintenance at Sukup Manufacturing Company and Ridgestone golf course in Sheffield, and then he became the Director of the Franklin County Veterans Affairs in Hampton.
A tribute written by a former neighbor in Tom's honor summed up how Tom lived his life: as a selfless individual who was never short on advice or a story. "COVID can't take away a lifetime of memories and teachings I received from Tom." That was Tom!
Tom used his compassion and understanding to help military veterans in the area and saw them as his extended family. He took pride in his dedication to all the veterans and made sure everyone was treated well and got what they needed.
Tom's love of sports and the love of his family often overlapped. A lifelong supporter of the New York Yankees and the Iowa Hawkeyes, Tom passed his love of knowledge and sports on to his children and eventually his grandchildren. He spent many nights and traveled many miles to watch his beloved grandchildren participate in sports.
Tom never hesitated to help anyone and volunteered whenever needed. He kept himself busy but never too busy to exchange golf stories or talk about the next Yankees' game. Tom's willingness to serve others, support his family and chat with whoever wanted to have a conversation will be sorely missed.
Tom is survived by his wife Linda of Hampton, son Steve (Rhonda) Berry of West Branch, grandchildren Blake Heikes of Urbandale, Drake Berry of West Branch, Taylan Healey of Hampton, and Grace Healey of Hampton, son-in-law Daryl Healey of Hampton, brother-in-law Giles (Deb) Varrelmann of Hampton and nieces and nephew.
He is preceded in death by his parents, daughter Jennifer Healey and two brothers Mike and Pat Berry.
In lieu of flowers, memorial may be directed to PO Box 152, Hampton, Iowa 50441
"Tom was my next door neighbor for many years growing up in Hampton and was a great friend. I remember many good times on the golf course, the football field, and in the neighborhood. After college and the Air Force I eventually landed in North Carolina. Thus Tom and I were not in touch for many years. Happily we were reunited in September of 2019 when my wife Beth and I visited Hampton, along with my sister Julie and her husband Lee Toomsen to play 9 holes of golf ar HCC. After golf we were able to enjoy a meal with Tom and Linda at a restaurant in town. What a happy evening it was! I?ll remember it always! It was like we had not been apart for all those years. Tom was his friendly self and we caught up on a lot of things. We reminisced about our high school days as the ?fearsome foursome? for the high school golf team, along with Bob Davies and Mark Honeck. Our sympathies and best wishes for Linda.
"As a child I spent a lot of time in the Berry home. Pat was one of my best friends, and we had a lot of fun together. Every Christmas he got a big box of life savers and a huge candy cane stick- what fun! Sitting around the Berry home was very familiar to me for as long as I can remember, partly because another wonderful family- the Randall?s lived there before the Berry?s. Tom, Joe, and Milly always had time to sit and talk with Pat and I. Of course we were in awe of Tom, after all he was a football player and so much older- lol 3 years- which was a lot when young. I am so sorry to hear of his passing, and will always remember him very fondly and his quick smile! God bless you Tom, and say hi to Pat for me! "
"Oh Tom where to start. You&Linda have been a huge part of our lives since the 70?s. We are so glad we had our last adventure@Mn cabin. In September as you taught us how to properly build a fire in fire pit. & help Jim fix the pool cues. We love you so much& will miss you so. Until we all meet again??"
"On Behalf of the Kelsh/Sniegocki Family, Tom was a treasured cousin and friend. We can remember many wonderful family gatherings together. His welcoming ways, kindness and goodness always shined so brightly. He will be greatly missed."
"I first met Tom through church activities. Years later my wife and I bought the house next door to Tom and Linda. What excellent neighbors. Tom helped me out during the bad rains in 2010. His kindness and knowledge came through. We liked to talk about golf, the Hawkeyes and the state of the world. He will be missed."
"Jean and Dean Dodd Family
Words won't begin to express the extreme sadness we have at this time of Tom's death
Thank you for always being the best neighbors anyone could ever have.
Please know that we are thinking of you during this time of extreme sorry. "
"Linda, about five years ago, I had the opportunity to talk with you at the hospital cafeteria. At this time your family was mourning the loss of your dear daughter Jennifer. What was clearly obvious in our chats, was how much love your family had for each other, how many activities you all did together and how many lives you all had touched.
We are sorry to hear of your loss. You have our sincerest sympathies. May you find strength in your wonderful memories."
"Our prayers go out to Linda, Steve and family. Thinking of you all at this difficult time."
"May the Light of God's Peace shine brightly on Linda and family. I can just imagine the hug that awaited him when he was once again united with his beautiful daughter, Jennifer. Tom will always be remembered as a kind and thoughtful soul. He will be missed!
Rick and Julie Salvesen"
"My prayers to Linda and family. Tom will be missed by everyone who knew him. It was always fun to talk to him."
"I always stopped to visit with Tom when in town from Seattle and exchange stories or (lies of our misspent youth) he will be missed. Blessings to Linda and family."
"Rest In Peace Tom, condolences to Linda and the rest of the family "
"Tom was one that I went to for advice when I first started as a Veteran Service Officer. Tom always gave it to me straight with his advice. When I would come to Hampton to get hams for the food bank while I was waiting we would have such good conversations. I always enjoyed visiting with his wife when she would accompany Tom to u our Meetings in Des Moines his family is truly what makes America Great. Tom will truly be missed!"
"I am so sorry to hear this. I enjoyed knowing Tom with his quick wit and enthusiasm for life. He will be missed by all that knew him. My sincere sympathy, I will hold you all in my thoughts and prayers. Mona Storm "
"I've known Tom most of my life. I heard of Tom's passing the day I came back to work after my brother, John had passed away. Tom was so very helpful with all of John's VA questions and needs. I appreciate that so much. I am so sorry Linda and Steven and your families. Prayers for peace and comfort. Rest in Peace Tom. Kathy "
"I talked to Tom a few weeks ago while he was at the doctors office waiting to find out why he was ill. At that time I was going to meet up with him to place a veterans flag ornament on my dad's grave but we never talked again. I have always thought the world of this guy. Breaks my heart for Linda and the rest of the family. You have my sympathy."
"I will continue to do a "Tom Berry" when I pull into a parking lot to shop!! (Linda will understand.) We certainly shared our love of cats, feeding them, giving them shelter even when they weren't ours just because someone needed to do it. I will certainly miss you and all the kindness you showed to those in which you came into contact!"
"My sincere sympathy to Tom's family. I learned of Tom's passing the day after I had called him about my brother-in-law John Dohlman's passing. We worked together on John's VA connections and chatted frequently at VA schools and gatherings. He was a good friend to all the Dohlman family and went to school with them. I personally will miss him as much as them. A good friend indeed. My prayers and blessings to you all. LuAnn Jackson (spouse of the late Dennis Jackson)"
"I had the honor of knowing Tom through Veterans Affairs
I?m so sorry for your loss "
"I am saddened to hear about the passing of Tom. He was a very good friend to me and I really enjoyed time spent with him on the golf course through high school, college and years after. My deepest sympathy to Linda, friends and family."
"My Uncle Tom was always joking around with his little brother (my father)Patrick James Berry who also has passed away. They would always reminisce about childhood memories and say "I love you my brudda". Uncle Tom always impressed me because while both of his brothers moved away from their small hometown of Hampton,Iowa. uncle Tom stayed behind and created a life right there where they grew up. He was able to be a wonderful father to Jen and Steven and an excellent husband to my aunt Linda who also seemed to share the same sense of humor my uncle was blessed with. But above all that he was a very loving son who my grandma "mildred "milly" Berry" and grandpa "Joseph Berry" were so very proud of with all of his achievements and accomplishments. He was there for everybody when they needed him. I would always ask about his time in the service and he would say if he told me he would have to kill me and make sure he emphasized his super serious look when saying it in a mysterious way. I remember going with him to a service call while he was working for the phone company. I remember he took me golfing and he was having so much fun until I almost won (he probably was taking it easy on me and letting me win). He loved becoming a grandfather, I specifically remember him telling me that when someone made a grandpa reference jokingly. He said with superman confidence. I am the happiest grandpa ever. He was an excellent uncle to Michael,Sean, Katherine, Laura-Beth and myself (Anthony). He is my uncle and my idol and even know I'm extremely saddened by this I am so very lucky to have been blessed with such an angel as my uncle.. I love you so much uncle Tom.. may you rest in peace with your nephew Michael Berry Jr., your beautiful daughter Jennifer Berry, Your Brothers Michael Berry and Patrick j. Berry. Your parents Joseph e. Berry and Mildred Berry. I admire you and may you rest easy uncle Tom.. I love you with all my heart..- Love, your nephew Anthony p. Berry"
"I?m sorry to hear about Tom. I have many fond memories of golfing with Tom. I pray the Lord will provide you comfort. "
"Sad to hear this! Linda Dean and I will be thinking of you and your family! Sending prayers!!"
"Please accept my sympathy
Mary Kay Gleisner"