Former CFRN weatherman John Berry dies of cancer
By Kristin Annable, Edmonton Journal
June 10, 2013
EDMONTON – John Berry, who entertained thousands of TV viewers as CFRN’s weatherman, died on the weekend after a lengthy battle with cancer.
Although many Edmontonians may remember him as the colourful man who gave them their daily weather update, his passion turned to cooking in his later years.
“Instead of the wind-chill factor, all I have to worry about is rare, medium or well done, and that suits me just fine,” Berry told the Journal in 2005. “God led me here for a reason, and I’m here and I’m loving it.”
Berry left the world of journalism in the late ’90s to move into the culinary world. A chef at various restaurants, he continued to do private catering up until the end of his life and could often be seen cooking up a storm at soup kitchens across the city.
As a broadcaster Berry worked everywhere from Ontario to B.C. before settling in as a news anchor at CFRN (now CTV Edmonton). Later, when the station needed a weatherman, he stepped up and stayed there until 1996. CTV said he died Saturday at the age of 62.
As the man who told Berry to move from anchorman to weatherman, Bruce Hogle said that Berry couldn’t say no to any charity needing his help. From emceeing at K-Days to acting as a judge in numerous charitable events — Berry was a fixture at any event in Edmonton.
“He will be long remembered not just for his journalism, but I think for his work in the community and trying to make it better,” said the former news manager of CFRN. Hogle knew Berry for decades and said his great sense of humour and smile made everyone around him feel at ease.
“I think that’s why he struck a chord with so many individuals,” he said. “He had a nice laugh, with an easy demeanour around him.”
Hogle said Berry was a devoted husband and father, adding his wife Mirna and their three daughters were the most important thing in his life.
“He was a very strong family man, loved his family, loved his wife and three daughters. He thought the world of them and they thought the world of him.”
Former CFRN news personality, John Berry, passes away after battle with cancer
At one time, he was a mainstay of CFRN News, known for his charity work and all of the roles he took on throughout his life, but John Berry lost his battle with cancer over the weekend.
Berry, originally from Hamilton, Ontario, worked as an anchor/reporter and weatherman at CFRN in the 1980s and 1990s.
He found himself in Edmonton when then-CFRN News Director Bruce Hogle was looking for a male anchor, to team up with Daphne Kuehn.
“Where ever something was going on John Berry was there, night and day, weekends, whatever the case may be,” Hogle said.
“He really gave himself to the station in so many ways.”
For those who worked with him, his impact was powerful – and although they haven’t lived or worked in Edmonton for several years, former CFRN personalities reached out as soon as news of Berry’s passing spread.
Pat Kiernan, now an anchor at New York One, recalled Berry’s love of the outdoors, and his commitment to the community.
Ashleigh Banfield, now working at CNN, talked about her experience as a ‘cub’ reporter in 1989 when she met Berry for the first time, saying his ‘ebullience was infectious’.
Current Chief Meteorologist at Fox 9 in Minneapolis, Ian Leonard, said he learned a lot from the man he took over for – most notably, how Berry told him to be himself on air, saying “the minute you start faking it, everyone will know…and they’ll stop watching.”
Over the last three years, Berry battled cancer – after he had worked to raise cancer awareness for years.
For a while, a former co-worker said it appeared Berry would beat the disease – but his condition took a turn a few months ago.
“All of a sudden, in the last 6 months he went straight downhill,” Former CFRN photographer Al Girard said.
Berry’s family announced his passing, at the age of 62 on Saturday, June 8, on his Facebook page, saying: “It is with sadness we announce that our beloved husband and father John Berry has gone to meet his Lord. Thank you for all your prayers. Mirna, Ashley, Heather and Nicole.”
With files from Susan Amerongen