We lost a good one

High Point Enterprise sports writer Tom Berry passed away yesterday due to complications from an infection and cancer. He was a fan of the 49ers, and once did a large feature on James Zimmerman. The Charlotte program was mentioned in his articles not often enough for me (as I let him often know) but we achieved 5BC status in his eyes. No one will ever be able to replace him as the High Point Panthers beat writer. In addition, he regularly covered ACC basketball and football, the Panthers and an occasional Bobcats game. Tom was a columnist who could provide facts to back up his thoughts in print.

Thanks Tom, it was a great ride.

[QUOTE][B][SIZE=3]Tom Berry left so many great memories[/SIZE]
By Steve Hanf, Enterprise Sports Writer
August 31, 2009[/B]

Already people are chiming in with the “I remember when Tom Berry …” lines. Some of the memories are from co-workers, others from people Tom covered playing high school sports who are now in the coaching ranks.

That’s what happens when you serve as the face of a newspaper for as long as Tom did.

I remember when Tom Berry took a break from writing just last Wednesday at the Wyndham Championship. I stopped by Sedgefield Country Club to pick up my media credential, a few tournament guides and - since I was there anyway - grab some lunch in the hospitality room. (The free food remains a great perk of this business, and there are some great stories of Tom’s legendary appetite, but we’ll save those for another time).

Tom emerged from the interview room and stopped by my table to join me while I ate. He commented on how good the food was, then lamented how he wasn’t able to eat that much of it. His appetite wasn’t quite there, and while doctors earlier in the week had told him that some test results were a little off, Tom said he was feeling a little better by Wednesday.

We chatted about work mostly, and Tom fretted over whether or not he’d be able to perform double-duty on Friday: covering the PGA tournament during the day and then catching a high school football game that night. A true measure of how poorly Tom indeed was feeling emerged when he decided to skip the Wyndham on Friday and just cover the Southwest at Southeast Guilford football game that night.

Doubleheaders, tripleheaders, quadupleheaders - Tom did it all. One of the most fun days I recall of the past five years working with Tom came when he covered a Carolina Panthers press conference in the morning and hit a Wake Forest basketball media event in the afternoon. Remarkably, photographers from the Associated Press caught Tom in the background of photos at each stop: in the Panthers locker room with Vinny Testaverde and at Wake with Dino Gaudio.

We teased him about having proof that he really covered both events, and made up a fake Enterprise sports page with the photos enlarged. I’m glad I still have it saved on my computer nearly two years later.

Of course, Tom didn’t just work all the time. He often fixed his writing schedule so that he could attend his daughters’ track meets, swim meets and band concerts. And for all the NCAA Tournaments he covered, the Super Bowl, the thousands of prep and college games in every sport - that’s what it’s all about.

Tom’s death Sunday claimed a great writer for everyone in the greater High Point area, a great friend to many and a great family man. His words and the memories we’re left with just don’t seem to be enough.[/QUOTE]

Repose en paix Tom.

....but we achieved 5BC status in his eyes.
Back then, we were usually a strong 5BC (and often better) with 6BC being a long way down the ladder.

I know the High Point paper gave us by far the best coverage in the Triad in our early CUSA days.

Sports editor Mark McKinney wrote this tribute…

[QUOTE][B][SIZE=3]23 years with Tom Berry won’t be forgotten[/SIZE]
By Mark McKinney, Enterprise Sports Editor
September 1, 2009[/B]

Tom Berry cast a long and impressive shadow during his time with The High Point Enterprise sports department.

In fact, not even a cast on a broken arm could keep Tom from getting the job done.

Let me explain.

As he always did, Tom was scheduled to anchor our ACC Tournament coverage. I know the city was Charlotte and I think the year was 1994, but that’s not important.

Tom suffered a broken left arm just prior to that tournament and I wondered if he would be able to cover the hoops action.

Two fully functioning hands are crucial in this line of work. Plus, Tom needed to drive as I was taking high-powered medicine to combat a throat infection that forced me to leave the driving to Tom.

No problem. Tom simply rolled down the window, rested his cast on it and motored down the highway.

Once at the Charlotte Coliseum, Tom wrote his normal six or seven stories each day and never missed a beat. He improvised a way to type, cast and all, and did us proud.

Tom’s efforts prompted legendary Clemson sports information director Bob Bradley to utter something that stayed with me to this day.

“You know, Mark,” Bradley said with a smile. “Tom Berry does a better job with one hand than most folks do with two.”

Dependable. Dedicated. Creative. The ultimate professional.

That was Tom Berry.

Tom died Sunday. So many years after Tom wowed me with his ability to overcome a broken left arm, and one year after he survived a bout with cancer that cost him a lung, the Enterprise sports department has lost its right arm.

From Super Bowls and Final Fours to local golf tournaments and community swim meets, Tom covered it all with unmatched skill and eloquence for 23 years.

As our sports columnist for the past 14 years, Tom called it like he saw it. He wasn’t afraid to take a stand, but never forgot the importance of writing with compassion and carefully chosen words.

Tom juggled so many beats so well. High Point University, Carolina Panthers, ACC, golf, high school sports, swimming - you name it, he wrote about it.

But as much as I marvelled at the way Tom did his job, I was far more awed by the way he lived his life during our 20-year friendship.

Tom was a faithful Christian, a proud and devoted husband and father. In the thousands of shifts we worked together, Tom rarely failed to talk in glowing terms about something his wife Sandy or daughters Ashlyn, Rachel and Leah had said or done or planned to do.

His priorities were clearly in order.

Tom was also a great friend. In my younger days, temper often got the best of me.

I recall a football Friday night many years ago that went into Saturday morning.

Tom and I were the last two men in the sports department. Something set me off and I stupidly tossed something against the wall. It shattered and I’ll never forget Tom shaking his head as he looked my way.

“C’mon, Mark,” he said in a firm but quiet voice. “You’re better than that. At least, you should always try to be.”

I haven’t always lived up to his wise advice, but having Tom Berry for a friend always made anyone a better person.

I wish I’d expressed that the last time we spoke. It was nine days ago and Tom called to tell me he wasn’t feeling well and would be unable to cover the final round of the Wyndham.

I told him no problem, I hoped he felt better soon and to take care.

Tom was hospitalized the following day and we never talked again.

So let me say it now.

You’ll be missed, Tom. Personally and professionally, you will not be forgotten.[/QUOTE]