An avid adventurer and rock ‘n’ roll fan, David Berry ’80 continues to play a major part in his friends’ and family’s lives a decade after his death in the World Trade Center attacks.
Known for his vibrant personality and intelligence, Berry struck an impression on the people he met wherever he went. His friends remember his witty sense of humor and spirit for adventure, and his wife, Paula Grant Berry, remembers his dedication as a friend, husband and father to their three children: Nile, 19; Reed, 17; and Alex, 14.
“David was very dedicated to his friends,” Paula said. “Once he befriended you, you were a friend for life.”
Paula contributed to the city’s post-attack recovery process by serving as the only family member of a victim to sit on the selection jury for the World Trade Center Memorial, where she helped determine the design of the memorial center that is still in construction. But Paula said she preserves her husband’s memory primarily by dedicating herself to raising their three sons.
“It’s easy to preserve his memory in that respect because it’s so natural,” she said. “It’s what I want to do.”
At Yale, Berry majored in physics and philosophy and graduated with honors. He went on to become a prominent financial analyst and the executive vice president and director for research at the brokerage firm Keefe, Bruyette and Woods.
Arthur Lenhardt ’80, Berry’s roommate for three years at Yale, said he thinks of his friend every time he travels to New York by visiting the 11th Street apartment the two shared for a year after graduation. He remembers Berry as a “golden boy,” who was a great friend, loved to have fun, and who worked hard at his studies.
“He was tremendously bright, a quicksilver mind, a fast but friendly sense of humor,” Lenhardt said. “He enjoyed the absurd, but he seemed so normal.”
Always devoted to his friendships, Berry continues to bring people together years after his death.
His sophomore year roommate, Jesse Hochstadt ’80, said that in the months following the World Trade Center attacks, he attended a service at the Yale Club in New York in honor of the victims of the tragedy. Lenhardt added that, even the past year, Berry’s memory has brought a number of their college friends together, with 2010 marking the first time the group met on the ninth anniversary of the attacks.
Berry’s friends and family continue to preserve his memory almost 10 years after his death. Every year on Sept. 11, Paula takes their three sons to the park for Dr. Pepper and Saltine crackers, two of Berry’s favorite snacks.
“I’ve done what I can to keep him alive,” Paula said. “We talk about him and the kids certainly remember him.”
“He was a great man,” she added.