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James Ernest O'Berry

February 11, 1927 January 5, 2019
James Ernest O'Berry
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Obituary for James Ernest O'Berry

SMITHFIELD- James E. O’Berry, 91, passed away January 5, 2019. He was born in Jacksonville, FL, on February 11, 1927 to the late Dennis R. and Pearl Bowers O’Berry. He was also preceded in death by his wife, Betty Lou Evans O’Berry; son, Dennis Michael O’Berry; and brother, Vernon E. O’Berry. He is survived by his daughter, Martha Foiles and husband, Henry L III (Hank); stepsons Beryl Dowdy and Toby Dowdy; grandson, Michael Bryan Kidd.
During World War II, Jim left home at 17 years of age to travel to Sheepshead Bay, NY, to join the Coast Guard. He was trained and placed in the Merchant Marine Services, hazardous duty as U.S. merchant seamen died at a higher rate than all branches of the armed services except for the U.S. Marine Corps. He served until the end of the war and during that time made numerous trips across the Atlantic and to South America transporting war material and oil, witnessing the attack and destruction of sister ships. The Merchant Marine Services, unsung heroes until granted veterans status in 1988, enabled the United States and Allied Forces to turn the tide of victory against the Axis powers.
After the war he returned home and worked as a talented upholsterer, making perfect drapes and curtains for many local movie theaters, restaurants, and homes. He returned to the Merchant Marines in 1962 and remained until retirement as a 2nd Engineer. He greatly enjoyed retirement with his wife, Betty, until her death in 2009. He was a generous, proud and loving father, grandfather, and great grandfather, a man of few words, extremely independent, with a soft spot in his heart for children and animals.
The family would like to thank the staffs of Mennowood Retirement and Intrepid Hospice for their skill and kindness in caring for Jim.
Donations in memory of Jim may be made to St. Jude Children’s Hospital (501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105) or Gary Sinise Foundation (PO Box 368, Woodland Hills, CA 91365.)
A funeral service will be conducted January 10, 2019 at 11 AM at the Sturtevant Funeral Home Portsmouth Blvd Chapel. Interment will follow at Olive Branch Cemetery.

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Previous Events

Funeral Service




11:00 AM 1/10/2019 11:00:00 AM
Portsmouth Blvd. Chapel

5201 Portsmouth Blvd.
Portsmouth, VA 23701

Portsmouth Blvd. Chapel
5201 Portsmouth Blvd. Portsmouth 23701 VA
United States

Cemetery Details


Olive Branch Cemetery Final Resting Place

2 Cpl J M Williams Ave.
Portsmouth, VA 23701

2 Cpl J M Williams Ave. Portsmouth 23701 VA
United States

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