Dr. Earl “Grant” Berry was born on the 4th of December, 1889 in Deseronto, Ontario. He was the son of Robert James Berry and the former Elisa Jean Grant. His father was a millwright at a sash and door factory, at the time of his birth. According to the 1911 census, Dr. Berry lived at 449 Church Street in Toronto with his parents and an older sister named Olive Isabelle Berry.
On the 30th of September, 1915, his only sibling Olive, died at her residence in Detroit at the age of 27. She had been married 5 years earlier to Archibald Sandilands. Her cause of death was listed as asphyxiation by gas fumes from a “deficient gas heater”. Also in 1915 on the 31st of March, Dr. Berry was a 4th year medical student when he enlisted in World War I. On his birth certificate, his first name is spelled Erle, but on his Attestation Papers his first name is spelled Earl and he stated that he had spent a number of years in the Canadian Militia. He listed his mother, Mrs. Robert Berry as his next of kin. His family was living at 44 Kippendavie Avenue in Toronto. Dr. Berry was promoted to Sgt on the 29th of March, 1915. During the war, he was stationed in Syria and Turkey. He was discharged in May of 1916 and set sail for Canada on the 26th of May, 1916.
After his discharge, Dr. Berry graduated M.B. in 1917 from The University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine.
Dr. Berry married a graduate nurse named Agnes Ellen Sheather on the 1st of September, 1922 in York, Ontario. She was born in 1897 in Hastings, Lennox, England. She was the daughter of William Sheather and the former Nellie Hughes. The Sheather family immigrated to Canada in 1905 and settled in Toronto. Mrs. Berry had 2 siblings born in Canada, a sister named Edna Mary Sheather born in June of 1908 and a brother named Hugh William Sheather born in September of 1910.
Dr. and Mrs. Berry initially settled in Oshawa, Ontario, and Dr. Berry practiced medicine there for 15 years. Dr. and Mrs. Berry moved to Merlin in 1938. He filled the void left when Dr. Henry Summers Barlow, moved from Merlin to Chatham.
In 1940 Dr. and Mrs. Berry and Dr. Berry’s mother lived on Aberdeen Street in Merlin. His mother died on the 16th of August, 1940. She was buried at the Stewart Cemetery in Merlin.
Dr. Berry was appointed as the District Coroner and the Medical Officer of Health in 1951. He was a member of the Canadian Medical Society, the Ontario Medical Society and he served as the President of the Kent County Medical Society 1947. Dr. Berry was also a medical officer for the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway in Southwestern Ontario.
Dr. Berry was a member of the Merlin Branch 465 of the Royal Canadian Legion and the Merlin I.O.O.F. Lodge 226. He belonged to the Rotary Club in Merlin and he served a term as the President.
Mrs. Berry died at St Joseph’s Hospital on the 23rd of September 1956 at the age of 58. Dr. Berry was killed in a head-on collision on Highway #3 near Pardoville (Chatham-Kent) on the 13th of October 1961. Dr. and Mrs. Berry are buried at the Stewart Cemetery, in Merlin. Upon his death, Dr. Berry was survived by a son, Raymond Grant Berry and a foster son named Alan Weeks.
*Dr. Henry Summers Barlow is also featured on the Chatham-Kent Physician Tribute website.