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Dee Berry died 4/27; celebrate her life 7/16

Dee Berry, full of energy, surprised her family and friends by dying at age 96 on April 27. Come celebrate her life on Thursday, July 14, at Simpson House, 4509 Walnut, KC MO, with visitation at 4:30 pm, a service at 6 pm, and a reception.

Dee was born in Audubon, Iowa, and—as she wrote in her own obituary—always cherished her small-town background. After graduating magna cum laude from the University of Iowa, Dee came to Kansas City, where she married, had five children, and obtained her master’s degree at UMKC. She wrote that she was “caught up in the turbulent ’60s, becoming involved in the peace and justice community, a commitment she kept the rest of her life.” PeaceWorks Kansas City bestowed its Charles E. Bebb Peace Merit Award on Dee in 2015 for outstanding service to the cause of peace.

Dee helped bring the international Green Party to the US, organizing in many regions and becoming its national clearinghouse coordinator. The Green Party proclaimed Dee “Grandmother of the Greens” during its inaugural convention in the US.

Wizard of Oz Performers formed in 1995 to demonstrate for health care reform. They traveled “anywhere we could find an audience,” which included Jefferson City, Sedalia (at the Missouri State Fair), and Topeka, says Sharon Lockhart, who provided this photo. From left: Scarecrow, Dee Berry; Cowardly Lion, Mary Helen Glenn; Dorothy, Ginger Golden; Toto, Sharon’s dog Biff; Tin Man, Dr. Carole McArthur; wicked witch, Sharon Lockhart; and Give ’em Health, Hillary, Ann Johnson.

Dee’s friend Sharon Lockhart says, “Dee and I were members of a feminist book club as well as a Pagan Ritual group—we became solid allies. I consider being asked by Dee to be Priestess at her Memorial Celebration of Life one of the most significant honors of my life, along with being named an Honorary Green by Dee in 2012.”

Concerning Dee’s sudden death, Sharon and Dee had been contacting each other and postponed scheduling a lunch or dinner when Sharon was called by Dee’s son Andy, and “the sad news of her death interrupted our plans,” says Sharon. “I expected Dee to be here much longer. The message is: Do it Now!!!”

In lieu of flowers, the obituary reads, contributions may be made to Harvester’s at https://www.harvesters.org/ or to PeaceWorks KC at https://peaceworkskc.org/. The obituary is at: https://www.legacy.com/us/obituaries/kansascity/name/delores-berry-obituary?id=34527800.

Story by Jane Stoever of PeaceWorks. © 2022, Jane Stoever, Sharon Lockhart, Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 4.0 International License.

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