Carmen Dorothy (Rerecich) Berry died peacefully surrounded by family on May 21st, 2023 at the young age of 99.
She was born on Bainbridge Island, Washington on October 18th, 1923 at her family’s home in Eagle Harbor, to her Croatian immigrant parents (Maria and Anton Rerecich). The youngest amongst four older brothers, Carmen enjoyed life near the water and stories from the Old Country. She attended McDonald grade school with her fellow “Ich”-ville peers and was the last surviving member of BHS’s graduating Class of 1941. She was also the oldest parishioner at St. Cecilia’s church having been baptized in the original church.
She was introduced to a fellow Croatian family friend, John “Barichivich” Berry, who courted her by letter mail for three years during the war until they wed in 1945. Together they raised three sons, Tom, Ron and Greg in Eagle Harbor while she worked as a long time bank teller for American Marine Bank.
Carmen was a caring wife, mother, grandmother and friend. She was known by close friends and family as either a stoic Croat force, or a humble, intelligent woman with a heartwarming smile. She was trilingual after happy hour and is known for her gnocchi and cioppino Christmas Eve dinners. She always said “no news is good news” yet was an avid news enthusiast. She excelled at crossword puzzles, knitting and laughing at any joke.
As a lifelong island resident, she saw all the changes of the island throughout the decades, and made sure you knew exactly “what used to be there.” When asked the secret to her longevity, she said “a glass of red wine since the age of 6.”
Carmen was preceded in death by her husband John, son Ron, brothers Tony, George, Dominick, Nick and her dear longtime friend FaF (Lois Stone).
She is survived by her sons, Tom and Greg (Nina), daughter-in-law Kristy, 7 grandchildren: Tom, Anna, Allison (Orejudos), Angela (Boes), Natalie, Aaron and Max Berry; 13 great-grandchildren and other loving family.
She will be laid to rest at Kane Cemetery where she will join her beloved husband and son.
Family and friends are invited to attend the Mass of Christian Burial at St Cecilia’s Catholic Church on Bainbridge Island on Friday, June 23rd at 11am. Reception to follow at Conger Hall.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Bainbridge Historical Museum on her behalf.
Arrangements are entrusted to the Cook Family Funeral Home of Bainbridge Island, WA.