Howard D. Berkley Jr.
COLUMBIA — Howard D. Berkley Jr., a longtime Columbia resident, died Monday, Sept. 12, 2011, in San Antonio. He was 91.
Born on Sept. 26, 1919, in Centralia, Mr. Berkley grew up on a farm with six siblings. He was practically running the farm by the time he was 14, his son, Larry, said.
Mr. Berkley completed his bachelor’s degree in business at MU and went on to serve during World War II as a pilot and flight instructor in the Pacific theater.
Upon returning to the United States, Mr. Berkley continued his services in the Reserves and became a lieutenant colonel while raising his three sons: Dutch, Richard and Larry. Eventually he received a master's degree in business administration from Southern Methodist University and relocated back to Columbia.
“Growing up we always played sports,” Dutch Berkley said, reflecting on his active childhood. Mr. Berkley's sons all noted their summer days swimming at Rock Quarry Park or watching their father play tennis, a sport he played throughout his life.
“Dad taught me everything I know,” Richard Berkley said. “I hope we didn’t hassle him too much," he continued, citing the challenges that accompany raising three sons.
“I was the youngest, and parenting typically gets more laid back when you’re on your last kid,” Larry Berkley said.
Mr. Berkley’s oldest son, Dutch, attended the U.S. Air Force Academy and served for five years, a feat he attributes to his father’s aid in the application process. Both Dutch and Larry received pilot’s licenses like their father. Richard went on to become a musician, but said he still holds his father's service dear to his heart.
After a divorce, Mr. Berkley married Sarah Louise Berkley of Columbia, gaining three stepchildren. He lived in Columbia until his wife's death in 2003. During this time he remained an active volunteer at the Truman Veterans Hospital and The Columbia Show-Me Cosmopolitan Club.
Mr. Berkley is survived by his three sons, Dutch and Richard, both of San Antonio and Larry of Little Rock, Ark.; two sisters, Margie Constantine and Francis Byrne; brother Dale Berkley; six grandchildren and three stepchildren. The time, date and location of services are to be determined.