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Commander Russell Elliott Berry Jr., United States Navy (Ret.), 79, of Beaufort, South Carolina and husband of Judith “Judy” Berry died Friday, March 26, 2021 at MUSC- Charleston.

Russell Elliott Berry Jr. was born March 21, 1942 in Staten Island, New York. He was the eldest of five boys born to Russell Elliott Berry and Emily Margaret Franck. Russell was predeceased by his parents and two brothers, Bruce Otto and Floyd William Berry. He is survived by his wife Judith “Judy” Berry; two children Michael Thomas Berry (Lisa) of Greensburg PA and Jennifer Lynn Wolfe (Kevin) of Denver NC; four grandchildren Dillon, Brendan, Ashley and Ryan; two brothers Guy and William; sister in law Sandra Palumbo; and nephews Stephen and Jeffrey Eggleston.

Judy and Russ met and married in 1981 in Washington, DC at the Navy Chapel.

Russ was raised in Bourne, MA on Cape Cod and graduated High School in Ogdensburg, NY. He graduated from the US Naval Academy (BS) and the George Washington University (MS).

Russ served 20 years in the United States Navy. He served as a naval aviator, engineering test pilot and Squadron Commanding Officer. Russ served foreign tours in Viet Nam and Egypt. Some of Russ’s personal decorations include Legion of Merit, two Meritorious Service Medals, and an Egyptian Presidential Citation. He served as Navy’s chief engineer for procurement of SH-60B multi-mission helicopter. Russ retired as a Commander in 1983.
Following his naval career, he joined Sikorsky Aircraft in international program management and business development. He led major military helicopter acquisitions programs in Japan, Taiwan and Australia.

While working with the US Navy customer, he developed Navy Helicopter Master Plan which led to current Navy Helo Concept of Operations (CONOPS-1) in 2001 and reorganization of entire US Navy helicopter fleet. He was the primary author of Mission Essential Needs Statement (MENS) for Navy CH-60, folding in requirements for Vertical Replenishment, Combat Support and Combat Search and Rescue. This led to procurement of MH-60S program.

Russ led business development activities with US Navy customer wherein Sikorsky was awarded major acquisition contracts for over 500 MH-60R and MH-60S multi-mission helicopters.

Russ retired for a second time in 1997 to 170 acre farm in Orwell Township in northeastern Pennsylvania. Judy and Russ were stewards of their land for thirty wonderful years. His two Schnauzers- Rudy and Molly- were constant companions and left many special memories of the “immeasurable joy” they provided. They were confirmed “snowbirds”; Russ and Judy traveled in their motorhome for 12 years to Canada, the South and Southwest- finally making Beaufort SC their winter base (and final residence) in 2010.

A graveside service will be held at 11 o’clock Friday morning, April 9, 2021, at Beaufort National Cemetery with United States Naval Honors.

Online Condolences

  1. Emily Freeman says:

    I didn’t know Russ and Judy, but we shared children and Grandchildren.

    I kept up with there travels through the family. I’m so glad they had such a good time visiting all the places they
    traveled to. I offer my condolences and love and support to Mike, Lisa, Dillon, and Raven. Emily

  2. Chris Colucci says:

    Dear Judy,
    No words can express my sadness. My heart goes out to you, dear friend, as you deal with this tremendous loss. Russ was one of a kind and will be missed. I’m praying for you and the family. Sending love.

  3. James Powley says:

    some people just “click” .We where friends from the first day we met.We are so going to miss Russ’s hearty laugh from the porch across the street. We weep with you, Judy

  4. Scott Porter says:

    Sending heartfelt condolences and love to the Berry family.

  5. Jane Truslow says:

    Judy, I’m so sorry to hear ! I pray you’re ok and will see you soon. Love to you…Jane

  6. Denise Berry says:

    Guy and I are saddened by Russ’s passing. We will miss talking with him and we treasure the visits we had. Judy, we are thinking of you every day and will talk soon. To Michael and Jennifer and your families we send our deepest sympathies. All of us miss Russ very much and we are thinking back on our good memories. Sending prayers for everyone. Guy & Denise Berry

  7. Daniel J Libertino says:

    To the Berry Family,

    With sincere condolences for a friend and associate of Russ’s Navy days and close associate of his days with Sikorsky.

    We sort of lost track of each other after retirement but have never lost the fond memories working with him on the Navy programs in Owego, NY and the Royal Australian from Melbourne.

    He will be remembered fondly by all that he has touched. Rest in peace!
    Dan Libertino

  8. Cappy Carrig says:

    There was no better man then my friend, Russ Berry. His sense of humor (I forgive the jokes he played on me! ) ; the endless advice; the laughs (I still tell the story of painting his beard at the Salty Dog); his kindness to help people he barely knew (like his bike repairs for kids) his creative cooking and so much more. If you needed help, Russ (and Judy) were right there. Always. Heartfelt sympathy to Russ’ Family and especially to Judy. Judy–you two were truly one being ❤️ and I am honored to have been his friend. He might be gone physically but I assure you his spirit will live on.

  9. Dixson John says:

    In his USN position on the USN SH-60B development program, Russ exercised an intelligent, inciseful and a practical approach to resolving the technical issues always present in the birthing of a new helicopter, especially one with the technology and multi-mission requirements of the SH-60. After he retired and joined Sikorsky in a Mangement position, he added those same talents to the efforts from the manufacturer’s side of things.
    I know that I speak for all of the Sikorsky test pilots and test personnel in passing our respects and sense of loss to the Berry family.

  10. Kim Duncan says:

    Saddened to hear of Russ’ passing. He was a wonderful colleague and friend from my Sikorsky days. Heartfelt sympathy to Judy and the Berry family.

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