H. Meredith Berry and Walter A. Wichern, Jr., as two young surgeons, met in New York City in 1946 at Roosevelt Hospital.
H. MEREDITH BERRY, M.D.
H. Meredith Berry was born in Newark, New Jersey on June 9, 1916. He graduated from Cornell Medical College, in New York, in 1941. He interned for one year in surgery at the New York Hospital.
With the outbreak of World War I, he quickly volunteered and was given a commission as a First Lieutenant in the Air Force. While in the military, Dr. Berry went to South America, Ascension Island, Africa, Morocco, Cairo, India, and China as a liaison officer for the then secret B-29 bombers. He was the first Flight Surgeon over the famous “Hump” going through areas where no other white man had ever been on rescue missions. On one of his trips, he spent a weekend as a guest of Mao Tse Tung, who was the leader of Communist China at the time. He also went on to Iwo Jima and was the flight surgeon for the bomber base there. He watched the first plane with the atomic bomb land at Iwo and then take off to drop its bomb. He also watched the second plane go overhead carrying the atomic bomb. Dr. Berry later received three service ribbons, the Bronze Star for rescue work in China, the Air Medal for missions accomplished (13 combat missions), and the Soldier’s Medal for attempting to rescue some men from a burning plane.
When he was discharged from the Service as a Major, Flight Surgeon, his medical education continued at the Roosevelt Hospital in New York where he completed his residency in surgery in 1948. Dr. Berry later moved from New York to the Lahey Clinic in Boston, MA where he first met Dr. Samuel Goddard, and through his influence came to the Goddard Hospital in Brockton, MA.
Dr. Berry joined the Goddard Hospital’s staff in 1949. During his career, he served three terms as trustee and was elected vice president of the medical staff. He served as Chief of Surgery from 1960 until the time of his death in 1979. In addition, he was a founder of Goddard Medical Associates in Brockton, MA.
Outside of his profession as a physician, Dr. Berry was a member of the Big Brother movement and became interested in participating in the program by the example of his parents and teachers who would bring boys having difficulties with their studies or schoolmates home to the family dinner table.
Dr. Berry was also a co-founder and president of the Berwick Boys Foundation. The foundation was instituted for the selection, guidance and encouragement of boys in need of assistance in furthering their education. Dr. Berry was totally dedicated to the Berwick Boys Foundation headquartered in West Bridgewater, MA, and Camp Berwick located on Dyer Island, two miles off the coast of Milbridge, Maine. The Berwick name is derived from a fusion of the names of the co-founders, Drs. Berry and Wichern.
H. Meredith Berry was many things to many people, but the following statement from a former acquaintance says it best:
“Dr. Berry lived at least three lives – to his patients, medical colleagues, doctors, nurses, hospital and clinic personnel – he was Dr. Berry, the brilliant surgeon, the compassionate healer, the great comforter…..in his second life the boys in the Berwick program knew him as ‘Doc’ – the wise counselor, the inspiring leader, the pal of hundreds of boys over thirty years. A second father to all of the boys – the only father to many…..in his third life, he was Meredith – the friend – a friend in the truest sense of the word. Not in just a small circle of picked and favored acquaintances, but a broad number of people upon whom he focused. Everyone felt that he was his special friend and everyone was his special friend indeed.”
Dr. Berry passed away on July 27, 1979 and is buried in the foundation of the Memorial Building at Camp Berwick on Dyer Island.