Guilford County loses another sportswriter(Tom Berry) way too soon

Posted by Andy Durham on August 31, 2009 at 9:39 am under Amateur, College, High School, Professional | 4 Comments to Read

This guy did it all and now it is all gone. Tom Berry(age 48) passed away on Sunday and he leaves behind a wife and three daughters and many memories after many years of covering sports in Guilford County.

Tom was a sportswriter for the High Point Enterprise and he covered it all. The ACC, HPU, golf, high schools, the Carolina Panthers, you name and Tom Berry was on it. I used to see him at the high school football games and at High Point University basketball games and he was on top of it all.

Tom was the consumate writer with pad in hand and also he would have the handy tape recorder available to stick into the pile or the crowd of coaches in order to get the notes and quotes that he needed for his stories.

Tom Berry had a very distinctive voice that set him apart from others that you would run into. I heard him several times over the years on High Point radio stations and enjoyed listening to him convey information and give his opinions on the sports newsmakers. Tom was opinionated and worked that into his articles and columns in the High Point Enterprise and he would let you know what he thought as he covered the gambit on Butch Davis and his Tar Heel recruits, all the way up to Jim Caldwell and his run to become head coach of the Indianapolis Colts and what Jim’s chances would be as the Colts’ top man……

I got word of Tom’s death last night at NewBridge Bank Park just before the Greensboro Grasshoppers game as Bill Hass(former N&R) and Ogi Overman(Jamestown News) were discussing some of the details. At first I thought they were saying that Tom had lost his job, but as it turns out, Tom had lost his life.

Tom Berry leaves his wife and three daughters and he used to love to talk about his daughters and their basketball games. He was very proud of his daughters and what they were doing on the basketball court.

A great man, super husband, and loving father and now his family and friends must begin to deal with the fact that Tom Berry is gone. He worked so hard and he had been battling an infection and he had recently been receiving treatment at the Duke University Medical Center.

Tom Berry gave it his all and took his work seriously and I can tell you from the times I saw him out there in the field and on the field it was 100% from Tom Berry. That’s all he had, 100%, and he gave it all….

Tom Berry gone, but while he was here and now that he is no longer with us, he left it all to his readers and his family and friends. No letdowns, no slowdowns, he gave everything…..

(Tom Berry 1960-2009)

There is more on Tom Berry in today’s edition of the High Point Enterprise.

from:Steve Hanf
High Point Enterprise and www.hpe.southernheadlines.com

Tom Berry left so many great memories

Already people are chiming in with the “I remember when Tom Berry …” lines. Some of the memories are from co-workers, others from people Tom covered playing high school sports who are now in the coaching ranks.

That’s what happens when you serve as the face of a newspaper for as long as Tom did.

I remember when Tom Berry took a break from writing just last Wednesday at the Wyndham Championship. I stopped by Sedgefield Country Club to pick up my media credential, a few tournament guides and – since I was there anyway – grab some lunch in the hospitality room. (The free food remains a great perk of this business, and there are some great stories of Tom’s legendary appetite, but we’ll save those for another time).

Tom emerged from the interview room and stopped by my table to join me while I ate. He commented on how good the food was, then lamented how he wasn’t able to eat that much of it. His appetite wasn’t quite there, and while doctors earlier in the week had told him that some test results were a little off, Tom said he was feeling a little better by Wednesday.

We chatted about work mostly, and Tom fretted over whether or not he’d be able to perform double-duty on Friday: covering the PGA tournament during the day and then catching a high school football game that night. A true measure of how poorly Tom indeed was feeling emerged when he decided to skip the Wyndham on Friday and just cover the Southwest at Southeast Guilford football game that night.

Doubleheaders, tripleheaders, quadupleheaders – Tom did it all. One of the most fun days I recall of the past five years working with Tom came when he covered a Carolina Panthers press conference in the morning and hit a Wake Forest basketball media event in the afternoon. Remarkably, photographers from the Associated Press caught Tom in the background of photos at each stop: in the Panthers locker room with Vinny Testaverde and at Wake with Dino Gaudio.

We teased him about having proof that he really covered both events, and made up a fake Enterprise sports page with the photos enlarged. I’m glad I still have it saved on my computer nearly two years later.

Of course, Tom didn’t just work all the time. He often fixed his writing schedule so that he could attend his daughters’ track meets, swim meets and band concerts. And for all the NCAA Tournaments he covered, the Super Bowl, the thousands of prep and college games in every sport – that’s what it’s all about.

Tom’s death Sunday claimed a great writer for everyone in the greater High Point area, a great friend to many and a great family man. His words and the memories we’re left with just don’t seem to be enough.


  • Steve Phillips said,

    Andy and Steve,

    Thank you for the tributes to a man I was proud to call my friend for 24 years. We were co-workers for part of that time, and I will most remember the times we watched games together, swapped stories and met for lunch on the rare times our hectic schedules permitted.

    I am still a little in shock at the moment and deeply saddened. But I know in time the wonderful memories and the bond we shared will triumph over all. Rest in peace, Tom. We won’t forget you.

  • Andy said,

    Well said Steve Phillips and I’m sure Bill Hass, Ogi Overman, Benny Phillips and many others feel the same way….

  • john olszewski said,

    Absolutely shocking when i just saw this. I had the absolute pleasure of getting to know Tom Berry the past year and a half and I was honored to have him write some of his great articles in my publication the past few months.Little did he know how I looked up to him as he was doing the dream job of covering sports for so many years that I have been blessed to be doing for just the last 2 years.
    Tom will be deeply missed and my heart goes out to his family that he so often spoke about to me. Everytime we got together our conversation always geared toward talking about our families.

    Tom, you will be missed immensely!!!

    Johnny O

  • Brenda DeLauro said,

    I had the privlege of getting to know Tom at High Point University over the last seven years. I worked at the Sports Ticker for ESPN to cover HPU Basketball. Tom and I would chat over our pre-game meals over the years about sports and current events going on in the area. High Point and Guilford County lost a dedicated sports writer along with losing a local citizen that was part of the community.