Judith Ann Berry, 71, long-time resident of McCook, Nebraska, passed away in her home on November 5, 2023 in Goodland, Kansas. Judith Ann was born to Joseph and Martha (Otte) Vinton on August 23, 1952 in Rushville, Nebraska. Judy was the oldest of 13 children, five sisters and seven brothers who were raised on the family ranch near Eli, Nebraska.
Judy attended grade school in a one room school house in Eli, Nebraska where she walked or rode a horse along with her siblings about 3 miles every day, one way. She attended St. Martin’s Academy in Rapid City, South Dakota with her sister Mary and they graduated in 1971. Judy then attended Alliance School of Practical Nursing and graduated March 27, 1973. After graduating from nursing school, Judy returned to Gordon and worked in the nursing home for a short time. Judy then worked in Madonna Rehabilitation in Lincoln, Nebraska and Mary Lanning Hospital in Hastings, Nebraska before moving to Oberlin, Kansas.
Judy loved to tell stories about growing up in the sand hills of Nebraska on a ranch. She even loved to do demo derby and racing cars with some of her brothers. She learned to fly with a couple of her uncles and grandfather as early as 12 years of age. Judy eventually got her pilot’s license and held it until she had her daughter in 1979. She got the nickname of “Mintlady” because she picked up a hobby of making cream cheese mints after doing them for her daughter’s graduation in 1997. She had about every flavor or shape you could think of. Judy loved nursing, but she loved her family and friends even more.
Judy worked at the Decatur County Hospital and Nursing home in Oberlin, Kansas; where she met her future husband, Gary Kay Berry. They moved to McCook, Nebraska and were married on August 4th, 1984. She started her job at Community Hospital in August 1984 and continued to work there until her retirement on October 18th, 2019. Judy worked in various departments while at Community Hospital, but her absolute favorite thing was working with babies and first-time parents. Many of her co-workers would say that she could make bad situations tolerable and made work fun. She gave the best bear hugs and had a great laugh. She was a dedicated and loving nurse. Judy received the Caring Kind award in 2010. Her nomination for that award read as follows: Judy Berry, LPN, has been in nursing care at Community Hospital since 1984. She is always willing to go the “extra mile” for each individual – patients, fellow employees, and visitors. Judy has helped many mommies and daddies with their newborns and embraced each baby as though they were her own. She has also been with many families at the end of life and has compassion for not only the patient, but each family member as well. Judy was with us when both my parents lost the battle to cancer. She was quick to share a tear, offer a hug, or just hold our hand. Judy has a smile and a cheery word for everyone. She is quick to offer her help for each employee who might need an extra hand. Judy is truly a “Caring Person”
Upon retiring, she stayed in McCook, Nebraska until May of 2020 when she decided to be closer to Sara and her grandchildren. She bought her dream car and found a nice house in Goodland, KS. She enjoyed her grandchildren almost every day and sat on her porch watching neighbors. As God would have it, a nurse, Stephanie, moved in next door with her fiancée and they became good friends. When her health declined, her neighbors came over regularly and brought their boxer dogs with them. Probably once a month or so they would have supper with her and let Judy give the dogs table food treats.
Judy is preceded in death by her parents, Joe and Martha; brother, Edward; infant sister, Martha Elizabeth; husband, Gary Berry; brother-in-law, Steve Dykes; sister-in-law, Linda Vinton; brother-in-law, Harold Berry; brother-in-law, Robert Keen, Jr; sister-in-law, Diane Slagle, nieces, Annie Blauvelt and Rachel Vinton. Judy is survived by her daughter, Sara Berry (Rob Johnson); three “special” daughters – Kandy, Brandy, and Teresea; grandson, Gavin Herren; granddaughters, Aspen Johnson, Jessica (Quentin) Mirabal, and Sarah Johnson; great-granddaughters Charity Mirabal and Baby Mirabal; great-grandson, Jaxon Mirabal; her sisters and brothers, Mary (Brad) Blauvelt; Joe (Marcia) Vinton; Fred (Linda) Vinton; Theresa Dykes; Mike Vinton; Kathy (Verlin) Dohse; Arty (Dee) Vinton; Helen (Brunza) LaBore; Chris (Darla) Vinton; Paul (Shelia) Vinton, her sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law: DeAlva Vinton, Gail Keen, Carroll (Jan) Berry, Bill Slagle, Deanna Sekyra, Terri Bredvick, and Debra (Earl) McNutt. There are a myriad of other special grandchildren and great grandchildren, nephews, nieces, great nephews, great nieces, aunts, uncles, and cousins that she loved so very much.
A celebration of life for Judy will be held on Wednesday, December 6, 2023 from 12 - 2:30 p.m. at the Community Building at the Red Willow County Fairgrounds in McCook, Neb.
Memorial contributions may be designated to the Community Hospital Health Foundation in McCook and may be sent to Koons-Russell Funeral Home, 211 N. Main Ave., Goodland, KS 67735.
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