Cecily Willis Berry's spirit left her body peacefully in her sleep very early Sunday morning, July 6, at age 95. She was a devoted wife to her late husband of 68 years, Col. John Raymond Berry, Jr., a loving mother to John (Marita), Belinda, Susie, and Rick, and the matriarch of a large family of 11 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. She dedicated thousands of hours to the Long Beach community as a volunteer and leader. Cecily was a founding board member of the Public Corporation for the Arts (now Arts Council for Long Beach), an active supporter of the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra for over 50 years, and a Past President of the Long Beach Auxiliary of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association. Cecily loved opera and loved to share her beautiful soprano voice with her friends and community at many events, and concerts with the Long Beach City Chorus. She was also a member of the LB Civic Light Opera Guild, and Musical Theatre West.
In addition, Cecily was actively involved in PTAs at all her children's schools continuously for 30 years. She served as a troop leader or den mother in Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, and Brownies, and was active in the Colorado Lagoon Nursery School Co-op. Her community spirit also extended to the Alamitos Bay Garden Club, St. Mary's Hospital Auxiliary, the Salvation Army Women's Auxiliary, the March of Dimes, and both local and national political campaigns. In many of these organizations, Cecily served as president, board member, or committee chair. She will be remembered as a wonderful and creative hostess for the many parties she loved to throw for these organizations, for friends all across the country, and as the chief organizer for a growing family.
Born in Berkley, CA, Cecily lived briefly in England and Canada before she met her future husband at Lincoln Junior High in Santa Monica. She was a graduate of Santa Monica City College and studied opera performance at Pomona College until her marriage in 1942. Their young family first moved to the Peninsula in 1945 and shortly thereafter moved to Bixby Heights, where John, Belinda, and Susie went to Longfellow Elementary School. After living in Washington DC for 6 years, where Rick was born, the Berrys moved back to Long Beach in 1962, first living in Alamitos Heights and later for nearly 30 years on the Alamitos Bay Peninsula. Finally, they moved to the International Tower in 1999.
Cecily will be remembered as a true servant to her community, a kind and supportive friend and mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother whose patient guidance spread unconditional love to all. A public celebration of her life is planned for Sunday, August 10 from 2-5pm at the Long Beach Yacht Club.
Arrangements under the direction of Luyben Family Dilday-Mottell Mortuary, Long Beach, CA.