Anne Marie Berry, 55, passed into eternal peace early on Saturday, May 12, 2012, surrounded by loving friends and family at her beloved solar off-grid cabin near Soldiers Grove.
She had survived cancer, but it returned in autumn, 2011, to take its toll. During the last several weeks of her life, local friends provided 24-hour care during the times that her husband, Gereon, was away at work, a teacher at Saint Lawrence High School in Fond du Lac. She repeatedly expressed her gratitude to all.
Anne Berry was born on May 8, 1957 in Ypsilanti, Michigan, the sixth of twelve children of Richard and Jeanne (Opstad) Berry. She graduated from Troy High School in Troy, Michigan in 1975. Anne attended community colleges part-time, paying her way by working in preschools and day care facilities, with jobs ranging from teacher’s aide to waitress. She completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education at Siena Heights College (Adrian, MI) in 1994. She completed a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Special Education at the University of New Mexico-Albuquerque in 1996. After moving to southwest Wisconsin in 1997, Anne worked for Crawford County Human Services with special needs infants and preschoolers, and substitute teaching in area schools. She loved children and treasured her work. She later worked at Passages, a shelter for women and children fleeing domestic violence, and Burton House, a group home for disabled persons in Richland Center. Anne Married Gereon Welhouse in 2008.
Anne was known for her deep humility and grace, and her ability to make each one of us feel that we are the special one. She was a passionate environmentalist, and cherished the place in paradise where she was blessed to live. She believed in healthy living and good food, and was an active member of four food cooperatives. She made it a priority to support local artists, and also lived lightly on the land. She was a great believer in the goodness of the human spirit and consistently practiced empathy and compassion.
When three of her sisters visited recently, they collaborated with Anne on this remembrance:
WHAT I LOVE AND ADMIRE ABOUT ANNE
The way she loves Gereon.
The way she loves her family, encouraging us to keep in touch with far-flung relatives.
Her love of children, her students, her nieces and nephews especially.
The way that she loves her home and her valley.
The way that Anne will fill a space with exactly what is needed.
Her ability to encircle herself with so many wonderful friends wherever she goes.
She tells things as they are.
She is generous.
She’s a hard worker.
She’s not a whiner.
She sees the beauty in every day and moment.
In her oh, so special way, she’s the teacher, comforting us in the face of her illness, showing us how to deal with what life has in store for each of us.
Anne is survived by her husband, Gereon Welhouse; her parents, Jeanne and Richard Berry; ten siblings, Deborah (Denis) Faber, Montreal, Quebec, Richard (Valerie) Berry, Dancourt, France, Timothy (Lisa) Berry, Virginia Beach, VA, Nancy (Lorenzo) Cavazos, Apache Junction, AZ., Lee (Susanne) Berry, Ann Arbor, MI., Mark Berry, Troy, MI., Daniel (Leanne) Berry, Traverse City, MI., Robin (John) Burhenn, Ann Arbor, MI., Patrick Berry, Birmingham, MI., Jonathan Berry, Berkley, MI., many aunts and cousins; eleven beloved nieces and nephews, Melanie and Gregoire Faber, Charles, Grant, TJ, Max, Julia, Sarah, Lauren and Amelia Berry and Fan Burhenn; three grand-nephews, Johann, Oskar and Jacob and legions of friends.
Anne was preceded in death by her youngest brother, Christopher, fourteen aunts and uncles and beloved nephew, Blake Berry.
The family had a home funeral at the cabin with green burial on-site on Sunday, May 13, 2012.
A memorial service is planned for Saturday, May 19, 2012 at 4 p.m. in the old town Gays Mills Community Center, followed by a potluck meal and square dance as per Anne’s request.
Locally grown flowers and gifts to the Kickapoo Exchange Food Cooperative, PO Box 276, Gays Mills, WI 54631 are preferred memorials.