CATSKILL—Estocia W. Berry, affectionately known as “Sto”, 85, a long-time resident of Hudson, died Wednesday, December 8, 2010 at The Pines at Catskill Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation.
She was born November 28, 1925 to Richard and Annabelle Cochran in Harlem.
She attended Wadleigh High School in Harlem, where she was trained in stenography and typing. Her family moved to Hudson in 1945. She married Fred Wise in 1947. She later married Frank Berry in 1961.
Mrs. Berry became an expert stenographer and typist. She served as an executive secretary to 4 governors of New York State over the course of 20 years. When the Metropolitan Transit Authority was established, she was asked to organize their secretarial pool and served as executive secretary. In 1976, she served as manager of the secretarial staffs for the Chancellor of the New York City School System until she retired in 1982, after which she established her own secretarial business for two years.
In the early 1980s, she returned to Hudson, where she was active in community affairs. She served as president of the Columbia County NAACP branch for more than 10 years. In that capacity, she founded and chaired the Annual Community Forum recognizing the contributions of African-Americans to the local community and the American community at-large. She adopted the slogan, “Strive to succeed. Success is its own reward,” for the Annual NAACP Freedom Fund Appreciation Dinner.
She also served as chairperson of the Mayor’s Advisory Board for the City of Hudson and actively participated on many other projects and organizations.
Mrs. Berry loved gardening, good food and socializing. She genuinely loved helping people in need. She had natural gifts as an organizer, superior orator and storyteller. She lived by the motto: “If I can help somebody, then my living will not is in vain.”
She was preceded in death by her parents, Richard and Annabelle Cochran; step-daughter Christine Berry Finlay; brother, Nathaniel Cochran; and sister, Ethel Loveless, in that order.
Mrs. Berry is survived by her niece, Rae Banks; three nephews, Arthur Banks, Darryl Banks and Deryk Banks; one granddaughter, Monica Davis; two great-grandchildren, Carl Rollins Jr. and Maya Davis; nine grandnieces and nephews, Cerri, Kendall, Deryk Jr., Lamar, Karim, Leslie, Jayln, Shem, Aida; her closest longtime friend Celestine Chance of Hudson; and many friends that dearly loved her.
Funeral arrangements are being handled by the Bates and Anderson Funeral Home, Hudson. Calling hours will be at 10:30 a.m. and the service is at noon Monday, December 13, 2010 at the Shiloh Baptist Church in Hudson, with the Rev. Ronald H. Grant presiding.