David Allen Berry sadly passed in February 2008. In November 1941 he made Lillian B Robbins and Melwood A Berry (1915 -- 1968) proud parents of their 1st born child. Born and raised in Alton, Illinois, David also resided in Mexico while his family owned an importing/exporting business; he later moved to Newport Beach and Costa Mesa, California; then finally retired in Yucca Valley, California with his wife of 41 years.
David was a fun loving individual. He had a zest for life and could bring a party to life. He was easy to talk to and was a wealth of knowledge. He was able to engage his audience and people remembered his stories and took what he said to heart -- even if it was a joke (such as "twisting in your ankle in a circle keeps the Earth in orbit"). David was an avid Ford Mustang collector and to this day his family can't let go of his pride, a 1964 -- 'hyper-performance' Mustang. Outside of collecting cars and rebuilding them David was a loving family man and a space enthusiast!
David met his wife, Teena, in the summer of 1970 in Newport Beach. His comment to a co-worker was 'check out this sexy girl.' It turned out this 'sexy girl' was his co-worker's baby sister. Teena and David started dating and immediately fell in love. David always called Teena 'bubble-cakes' and you can look at photos and see the twinkle in his eye. After 41 years of marriage he loved her unconditionally and the luster never wore off. They married in December 1971 and in April 1972 they had their first and only child, Heather Angela Berry. David was a proud 'papa' and an equally protective daddy as his little girl grew up. While Heather and David did not always see eye to eye, she was always his 'peanut' and he was and will always be her 'rock.'
David began working at Parker Hannifin Aerospace in the 1980's and retired after 20 years of service. He was a highly respected aerospace engineer and every year the Space Shuttle would launch he was right there to check the valves to make sure everything was in check. David was 'in his element' when he was at work and still, after almost 10 years of being retired, his tool box with hand written notes and specialized tools sits for new employees to learn the trade he once did. It was not until his memorial -- held in July 2008 in Corona Del Mar, California -- that his family realized what an impact he had not only at work but also on his missions to Cape Canaveral.
In 1998 David and Teena moved to Yucca Valley, California to be closer to family. His mother, Bonnie, and baby brother, Jimmie, both reside in the high-dessert. Jimmie and David loved family get-togethers as well as their morning chats via MSN. His baby sister, Diane, resides in Colorado, and while they did not get to visit often, Diane will always be his favorite little sis. David and his brother Thom (a Vietnam Veteran) use to enjoy debates about politics -- one was very right winged and one was very left winged.
David's passing took the family by surprise. He had a known heart condition; however, after suffering a minor heart attack nobody expected to lose him so quickly. Unfortunate circumstances took him from a family who loved him more than he probably ever knew. Many family members are at peace and many are not. Those still at a loss are excited to see David be launched into space, a dream of his since he had heard of such possibilities. His memorial marker -- a space shuttle with wings and 3 stars -- was designed by his daughter and drawn by his niece, Danielle, and represents his love of space and its endless possibilities. David's capsule, which will launch on an Earth Orbit mission, says "Pow Zoom To The Moon" which is what he'd want to say if he would have had the chance to fly into space and beyond. David, we miss and love you and we will always remember you as our "Shuttleman."