James Donnel Berry
James Donnel Berry, age 88, died Saturday, October 14, 2023, in Vernon, Texas. Visitation will be from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM Saturday, October 21, 2023, at Lunn Funeral Home in Olney, Texas. Funeral service will be held at 2:00 PM Sunday, October 22, 2023, at First Baptist Church in Olney with Dr. Chad Edgington, current pastor and Kelly Russell, former pastor, officiating. Interment will follow in Restland Cemetery. Arrangements are under the direction of Lunn Funeral Home of Olney.
Don was born June 12, 1935, in Temple, Texas to the late JD and Evelyn (Davis) Berry. Don attended Temple high school where he was a standout in all four of the school’s major sports but was best at football and baseball. After high school graduation, he attended Baylor University on full scholarship and lettered in both football and baseball. He played halfback and kicker on offense and linebacker and safety on the defensive side of the ball. Don’s most memorable moment playing for Baylor was when he kicked the game-winning field goal against the Texas Longhorns, propelling the team to the Sugar Bowl. In addition, Berry made All-Southwest Conference in baseball during his senior year at Baylor. He studied three years towards a business degree, before he felt the Lord leading him into coaching. His senior year he changed his studies to obtain a teaching certificate and studies to be a coach. Don also met the love of his life, Kay Baskerville, while at Baylor. They were married August 17, 1957, in Vernon, Texas. They were married for 57 years prior to Kay’s passing in November of 2014.
Don graduated and began his long Texas high school teaching and coaching career in Lampasas. He continued his coaching career at McGregor, Ennis (where they reached the 3A State Semi-final), Vernon and Lancaster, where he coached his three sons—a highlight of his coaching career. After coaching, Don served as principal in Lancaster for six years prior to his retirement. Don moved to Olney, Texas, after a request from his wife, Kay, to follow her passion for becoming a principal. While in Olney, he continued to give back to the education community by serving as the interim superintendent at Megargel, Texas, President of the Retired Teachers Association and Board Member for the Olney Cub Center. Coach Berry leaves behind generations of young men and women who are better having known and played for him. His top priority in all of his relationships was that Jesus Christ be glorified and each student, player, parent and coach would know Him as their Lord and Savior.
Don was an active member and deacon at First Baptist Church of Olney where he taught Sunday School, served on various committees and sang in the adult choir. The church and gathering as the people of God were a priority to him. In January of 2023, Don moved to Vernon, TX, to be closer to his daughter, Amy White, where he lived until his recent passing. Don loved his family dearly and would travel many miles for special events in their lives, especially sporting events, concerts and birthdays of his grandchildren.
Don is survived by his four children: Jeff Berry and wife Alicia of Ennis, Texas, Andy Berry and wife Becky of Arlington, Texas, Joel Berry and wife Pamela of Arlington, Texas, and Amy White and husband Clint of White City, Texas; one sister, Geneva Kay Berry of Temple, Texas; twelve grandchildren: Ragan Malcuit and husband Hunter, Bailey Berry, Jace Berry, Brynn Howerton and husband Neil, Anna Tucker and husband Andrew, Connor Berry, Braxton Berry and wife Kelsey, Brock Berry, Colby White and wife Allison, Kaylee Gruhlkey and husband Cameron, Kelsey White, Carli White; and 17 great-grandchildren: Bralen and Brody Nichols, Camdyn and Sawyer Malcuit, Hudson, McKinley and Jackson Howerton, William and Caroline Tucker, Hayslee, Drayson, Coburn and Dallam White, Draper, Keslynn and Oakley Gruhlkey and Berkley White.
Memorials may be made to Olney Senior Cub Center, P.O. Box 216, Olney, Texas 76374 or to the Don and Kay Berry Scholarship Fund, c/o First Baptist Church, P.O. Box 734, Olney, Texas 76374.
Condolences may be expressed to the family at www.lunnfuneralhome.com.