In Memoriam: Sir Michael Berry
Washington, DC | www.adc.org | October 28th, 2015 – The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) remembers the life and legacy of Sir Michael Berry, who passed away on Sunday Oct., 25 at the age of 95.
Sir Berry was born in 1920 to Arab-American immigrants from Southern Lebanon. After enduring poverty during the Great Depression, Sir Berry went on to graduate from Fordson Junior College, Wayne College, and Detroit College of Law.
Sir Berry was a great attorney and public servant, but more importantly, he was a model leader of the Arab-American community. As an attorney, Sir Berry worked to achieve justice for underserved communities, including Arab-Americans. As a public servant, Sir Berry championed diversity while serving on Wayne County Road Commission. He was elected in 1967, and served as Chairman of the Commission for 10 of his 15 years of service until 1982. In his time with the Commission, Sir Berry hired 44 Arabs as well as many people from diverse ethnicities. Sir Berry wrote in his autobiography: “I had hired a lot of blacks, Irish, everyone that really applied for a job, including Arab Americans.”
Sir Berry also left a legacy of philanthropy and community building, supporting education and quality healthcare for Arabs in Michigan, as well as in Lebanon, the country of his Arab heritage. He funded scholarships at MSU College of Law, the University of Michigan-Dearborn, Davenport University and Henry Ford College. He also supported hospitals in Michigan and Lebanon. Sir Berry’s philanthropy garnered high honors. For his help in organizing a shipment of medical supplies, the Lebanese government made him a Knight of the National Order of the Cedar, one of Lebanon’s highest honors. Sir Berry was also honored by ADC at our National Convention.
Sir Berry is survived by his wife Cindy, children Cindi LaCroix, Laura Berry Harris, Carol Ward, Gail Berry, Timothy Berry and Brendan Berry; six grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and siblings Patricia Kelley, Lindy Berry and Frank Berry.
ADC’s National Board and Staff send their condolences to Sir Berry’s family. May God have mercy on his soul. His family and friends will be in our thoughts and prayers.