My husband’s sister, Nora, and her three children lost their husband and father yesterday. Very suddenly. He was Andrew’s uncle and Godfather. Andrew was very sad when I told him. He said, ‘let’s get over there and feel them better’ – that is not a typo. He always gives me a kiss to “feel me better”. After he had a tantrum because we couldn’t go over (Nora was headed to the funeral home) he wanted to call Aunt Nora but then froze on the phone. Later he said, let’s say a prayer for Uncle George and we said the Our Father and he came up the idea that he would share his daddy with his cousins. He asked me a few times “are you sure about Uncle George?” and unfortunately I had to say “yes”.
There are so many things you can say about George. He was a man of medicine, a great husband, wonderful father and a “there when you need him” friend and even when you didn’t think you needed him – he was there and you KNEW it.
George didn’t know this – no one but Jim knew this – but I wanted George to walk me down the aisle when I married Jim. Jim didn’t want anyone else’s feelings to get hurt (especially his brother) – so he thought it was best if I just didn’t ask. Odd even then I knew people felt safe around George and I would have felt safe being on his arm and not so alone as none of my family was there for me.
George was a good man and everyone loved him – his colleagues, friends. A good man who would do anything for anyone – like drive in from Kings Point into Long Island Jewish when my little boy (his godson and nephew) had to get stitches in his two year old head and I was beside myself, come to our house to listen to Andrew’s chest when I’d get worried, run the St. Gregory’s festival every year even with his exhausting work schedule, volunteered at the Knights, coach sports, worked hard to give his children the best of everything and be there for family and friends during good times and bad.
George was the Pediatric Trauma Coordinator at Long Island Jewish. He was a PA and if you can judge a man by the number of people at his bed as he lay dying…there wasn’t a better man. There must have been thirty people in tears at 8:57 a.m. when they stopped all measures – immediate family including Jim and I, doctors, nurses, hospital administrators. I know medical professionals work diligently to save every life – but this was above and beyond.
George was always the “hero” just like his father. Every time Jim and I went to Roosevelt Field we’d see Mr. & Mrs. Berry (George’s parents) there – one day a toddler got away from his mother – everyone there – it wasn’t very crowded – got involved looking – guess who came around the corner holding the child — Mr. Berry. At Andrew’s first birthday party and Elizabeth’s 21st (George’s eldest daughter) birthday party, one of our friend’s children who was 4 at the time was struggling at the bottom of the pool – who jumped in and saved her – George. It’s in the Berry blood. Help people.
We will miss you George. Rest in peace.