Obituary of James L Berray
James Lloyd Berray, age 90, passed away on Thursday, January 12, 2023, at Masonic Village in Lafayette Hill, after living there for five years in the Health Care Unit following complications from meningitis.
"Jim" Berray was born in 1932 in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and together with his younger brother and sister, enjoyed the lakes and outdoor lifestyle of Wisconsin.
At age 15, Jim sailed to Europe in 1947, shortly after WWII, as a member of the Madison, Wisconsin Boy Scout Drum and Bugle Corps for the 6th World Scout "Jamboree of Peace" in Moisson, France. Jim's adventures continued when he and his younger brother, Jack, both accomplished water-skiers, travelled out West to Colorado for a snow skiing trip during a time when the sport of downhill skiing was still in its early stages in the United States.
Jim sailed to Europe again in August 1953 to serve in the U.S. Army in Germany, and was Honorably Discharged in 1954.
A Wisconsin boy, he met a Minnesota girl, Marian Faye Jankila, at Stout State, now University of Wisconsin - Stout, and after graduating together, they married on December 27, 1956.
Their first born son, Scott James, was born in 1957 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at St. Francis Hospital.
Jim's burgeoning career as a salesman of business forms for National Cash Register (NCR) brought a promotion and their young family transferred from Milwaukee to Washington Court House, Ohio, the location of NCR's largest printing plant. During their time in this county seat town, Jim and Marian helped to found a Lutheran Church, and in 1960, their second son, William Alan, was born.
In 1961, Jim was sent by NCR to establish a Business Forms and Supply Division in the Philadelphia area and the young family moved to a small red brick apartment building near the train line in Oreland, Pennsylvania. Their third son, Thomas John, was born in 1962 in Chestnut Hill Hospital. Following Tom's birth, the family looked to buy a house. Oreland was too expensive at the time, but out "in the sticks" in Plymouth Meeting, they managed to buy a two-story colonial with an arching mulberry tree out in the large backyard, where they settled in 1963 to raise their three sons.
The young couple continued to worship at Christ Lutheran Evangelical Church in Oreland, with Jim serving as Council Member for the church from 1964-1967.
As a young father and husband, Jim was very active in the Jaycees service and civic organization. He served as a National Director in 1966-67, and in 1969 was elected an International JCI Senator, Number 9391. At the Drexel Institute of Technology (now Drexel University), Jim completed prerequisite "foundation courses" in 1969 and was admitted to the Graduate School in the Evening College. Working full-time, and with an active family life, he diligently attended evening courses for 8 years and graduated from Drexel with an MBA in Marketing in 1976. Jim and Marian also participated in a successful campaign to construct a new modern public library building for the community and Jim served as the Vice President of The Friends of the William Jeanes Memorial Library Association in 1970.
During this time, his three sons started competitive swimming during summers at the Ply-Mar Swim Club, and Jim started officiating at their swim meets. To facilitate winter swimming, Jim helped to found the Plymouth Whitemarsh Aquatic Club, which grew to be a large club and is still going strong today. In addition to spending time at Ply-Mar in the Summer, the family enjoyed camping in a large Sears umbrella tent at the Hidden Acres Campground in NJ. After Jim's signature pancakes in the morning and sweeping out the tent, it was a short drive to the ocean beaches of Avalon and Stone Harbor where Jim introduced the boys to the exhilarating experience of riding the waves on inflatable rafts. On Halloween night, the Berray house was a favorite stop for the elaborate scary show that included Jim clopping noisily down the steps or suddenly bursting out of the closet in a very realistic white Frankenstein mask.
Jim and Marian helped the boys greatly with their college applications and were very supportive of their sons throughout their college careers.
Jim was very proud to display 3 large commemorative steins, emblazoned with the emblems of their respective universities - Temple, Stout, and Duke.
Jim worked for NCR, Univac, Sci-Tek, AB Dick, GTE, and Mohawk Data Sciences and his career followed and mirrored the profound technological changes in American businesses from the classic NCR triplicate paper forms, to computer time-sharing on hulking main-frames, to the portable computerized Point-Of-Sales Systems that replaced the ubiquitous NCR mechanical cash registers. Jim had a strong work ethic, and he continued working into his 70's. It is fitting that Jim finished the long arc of his technology sales career in the Apple Computer Department at Micro Center - as it was the 1977 Apple II, arguably the world's first successful mass-produced microcomputer, that helped to spark the explosive proliferation of personal computers leading to the continuing technological revolution that we are living in today.
After their boys left home, married, and started their own families, Jim and Marian visited their sons and their grandchildren, wherever they were, travelling to Japan, California, Virginia, Arizona, Colorado, and Minnesota.
In retirement, Jim and Marian faithfully swam their laps at Ply-Mar together and continued their travels. They traveled to the Caribbean and took epic cruises on the rivers and waters of the continental United States, Alaska, Canada, Japan, and Europe. On their trip to Russia, they included a side trip to Finland, where Marian's grandparents emigrated from to settle and work in the Mesabi Iron Range area of northeastern Minnesota.
They also enjoyed visiting and staying at Bethany Beach, DE, where, during a visit in June 2017, Jim was first stricken with the ramifications of meningitis.
After a series of hospitalizations, Jim moved into Rm 232 in the Health Care Unit at Masonic Village in August of 2017.
Marian moved to a Retirement Apartment at Masonic Village in December 2017 to be near Jim, and served as a tireless advocate for his care and well-being.
Married for 66 years, Marian was at his side, together with two of his sons, during Jim's final peaceful hours.
Jim was predeceased by his parents, Lloyd and Wardena, and his two younger siblings, Jack and Donna.
He is survived by his wife, Marian, his sons Scott (Karen), Bill (Dina), Tom (Margot), and his six grandchildren - Kai - Megan, Amy, and Jill - Kate and Nick.
Jim will be fondly remembered by all who love him as a faithful, devoted husband, father, father-in-law, and grandfather, to whom family was all important.
James Lloyd Berray's ashes will be interned at the Washington Crossing National Cemetery.To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of James Berray, please visit Tribute Store