Jack Berry — beloved and longtime leader of Westport’s Boy Scout troop 36 — died early today. He stepped down — reluctantly, and with a fantastic sendoff — last spring, due to the effects of pancreatic cancer.
At last year’s retirement dinner, Zach Effman was awed by his scoutmaster’s devotion.
His incredible ability to see and bring out the best in others and his joy in doing so has been an inspiration to me, while I have had the privilege of seeing him doing what he does best. Without any hesitation, I can say that Mr. Berry is the best person I have ever known. I know that his presence in the troop will be missed, but I also know that his effect on my life will never fade.
Marshall Knutson praised:
With over 50 years of scouting experience under his belt, Mr. Berry amounts to no less than a scouting God. His unwavering devotion to scouting and his inspirational charisma make him perfect at what he does. Under his guidance, Troop 36 recruits more new scouts and pumps out more Eagle Scouts than any other troop in Connecticut, solidifying Mr. Berry’s reputation as one of the greatest scoutmasters ever. His skill lies in his ability to observe a scout’s strengths and weaknesses, and provide them with the leadership opportunities they would most likely succeed at.
Edward Hickson –another Eagle, now a junior at Ithaca College — said:
Scouting turned out to be one of the highlights of high school for me, and I can say with complete conviction that it would not be the same if Mr. Berry had not been my scoutmaster….Mr. Berry was there every step of the way. His motivation and commitment to helping me advance in scouting and become a better person means he is an inspiration to me and to all the other scouts who have had the privilege of participating in his Troop 36.
Jack Berry was a Scout to the end. Today, coincidentally, is the 104th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America.