Celebrating the Life of Connal Berry

Celebrating the Life of Connal Berry
Photo of Connal Berry

Connal O’Morr Peters Berry, aged 69 of Dayton, Nevada, unexpectedly passed away at his home August 21, 2022. He was born in Williston, Florida on December 17, 1952, to Frank Peters, a US Coast Guard Seaman, and Donna B. Harmon. At about two years of age Connal and elder sister Scheri, were adopted by Raymond A. Berry and Ethel G. Carter of Chiefland, Florida. He was predeceased by all parents and younger sister, Denice Hudson Wade.

Connal is survived by his wife of nearly 35 years, Debra Berry of Dayton, NV, sister Scheri Martin of Tallahassee, FL, brothers Nathan Hudson of Greeneville, TN, Brun Hudson of Deltona, FL, and Kevin Hudson of Ormond Beach, FL, as well as extended family and many close friends.

Raised in Tallahassee, FL, Connal was a good student making mostly As, an avid reader of the Bible, historical non-fiction, bird identification and automotive books. Sister Scheri recalls he was generous, kind and entertained her by playing board and card games as she frequently was hospitalized growing up. Connal graduated from Leon High School in 1970 and traveled Europe (Brussels, Amsterdam, Paris and London) with a friend for several weeks that summer. Spending time with maternal grandparents in Chiefland, FL he apprenticed as an equipment mechanic for a construction company until 1971. In 1973, he obtained an Associate of Science Degree, Oceanography, from Tallahassee Community College; then transferred to Florida State University. Being very well-read, he would become a jack of all trades also working in retail and carpentry jobs.

Connal met Debra on a blind date in Lake Tahoe (Stateline, NV) on September 12, 1987. He had won a Valvoline Oil 1st Prize trip to Harvey’s Resort Hotel & Casino where Debra worked in the Marketing Department. After several calls to arrange his travel itinerary, Connal asked Debra out because he liked her voice. Well, there were more dates during that visit and after several weeks of calling, writing each other every day, sometimes twice, having just 18 days together, they took a gamble and married December 23, 1987 in Altamonte Springs, FL at the home of his parents.

From 1977 to 1993, Connal was a mechanic and itinerate overhaul mechanic in fossil fuel and nuclear power plants throughout Florida. Layoffs were looming so instead of bumping another from their job, Connal took an early retirement from Florida Power and Light. He and Debra relocated to Northern Nevada and built their home in the Dayton Valley. In 1994, Connal accepted a position with the Robert M. Lee Automobile Collection in Reno, NV, as a classic and exotic car mechanic, and was Mr. Lee’s boat captain on Lake Tahoe piloting a 1941 28’ Garwood and 1999 40’ Formula 40.

Connal gave collection tours and escorted exotic, rare and classic cars to elite shows, such as the Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance. In 2005, Connal joined the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT), Equipment Division in Sparks, NV. Beginning in Fleet Services and completing NDOTs Mechanic-in-Training program, he would serve 10 years as a Heavy Equipment Mechanic installing and wiring all the special equipment and controls newly commissioned NDOT vehicles require. He was also the first person his supervisors asked to fill in at the Carson City Motor Pool. He got a lot of reading done there, so he never complained.

Connal made many great friends at NDOT and missed seeing them daily, but not the Dayton to Reno commute! He retired from Nevada State service after 15+ years on December 28, 2020, wanting nothing more than to play in his home workshop.

Connal’s passion for cars had grown to most things British. He restored several MG’s during his lifetime and at the time of his death was rebuilding a 1970 MGB GT; also, a 1950s era Massey Harris Tractor. He had countless interests, projects waiting in the shed, hobbies, collections, and honey do’s so if he got tired or frustrated with one, another could capture his attention.

An accomplished glass fusion artist for 20 years, Connal exhibited and sold his art at local fairs and fund-raising events. He was a juried artist at the Brewery Arts Center (BAC) in Carson City, NV and volunteered in the BAC store where he sold his art between 2005-2007. He generously gave away his creations to friends, family and co-workers but managed to make a little money to buy more glass. He should have enjoyed a much longer retirement than only one and a half years.

Connal was passionate about Formula 1 racing, Asian culture, conservative politics, the National Rifle Association. He also enjoyed woodworking and carpentry, photography and collecting coins. Described himself as a “Florida Cracker,” a very refined one no less.

SATURDAY, JUNE 3, 2023 2:00 P.M
For more info, contact Debra Berry at (775) 720-4979

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