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There was a gentle breeze drifting across the Colorado River and through the little town of Moab. It was February 9th, 1924, and this slight breath of wind brought a touch of mischievousness and a spirit of adventure as it welcomed a new baby girl to Bert M. Graham and Vera Louella Foy. Billie Louise Graham Berry, born the second child of four, spent her first few years playing under the red arches in the sleepy town of Moab, Utah. Her stories of Grandpa Perry Foy’s farm, the old black walnut tree, and the freedom of the land during her early years are full of her escapades. She often spoke of her grandfather Foy who would play the fiddle every Saturday night, bringing the local folks together in the small town, where they would dance and mingle. It was these early years that gave Billie her life-long love of dancing.
The next few years were filled with both difficult and joyous experiences as the family moved from Moab to Gateway, Colorado, then on to Rifle Creek, and then to Silt, all small mining towns, as Bert looked for work. They spent some time in Grand Junction and in Aspen, and then back to Moab before Billie enjoyed her teenage years at Delores Camp, near Nucla, Colorado where her dad was the mining superintendent, and her mother ran the boarding house.
It was in Nucla at a Saturday night dance when a 17-year-old Billie met Joe Berry (Thomas Joseph Berry). A smart, cocky, 19-year-old that drove a yellow convertible with red interior; Billie did not stand a chance. Joe was living in Grand Junction and every weekend he would make the drive up to Nucla to dance with the sassy little brunette named Billie. It was not long before they were married in the nearby town of Ridgeway, Colorado, on May 7th, 1942, and honeymooned for a night in Ouray, Colorado at the Desmond Hotel. They soon settled in Grand Junction, Colorado long enough to have their first two children, Sharon Lea (Clayton) Parkinson and Susan Lynn (Craig) Thornock. Soon after, they moved to Monticello, Utah where their son, Thomas Joseph Berry (Thom), was born.
Billie and Joe soon settled in Washington Terrace, Utah where they raised their family. They kept roots in Grand Junction and on the western slope of Colorado and spent many summers at Bear Lake, Utah, camping, water skiing, and making happy memories. Joe joined his beloved horse ‘Lefty’ in the sky at the age of 54, leaving Billie a young widow. Billie continued to enjoy snow skiing, golfing, bowling, and above all, dancing. She instilled in all around her a love of life and adventure. Billie’s 13 grandchildren were lucky to spend quality time with her as she happily shared her home and her heart and her love of life with all. The grandkids gather often and reminisce of Billie’s talent to have fun, to tease, and to make them feel safe and loved. Those 13 grandchildren have given her 35 great grandchildren and six great, great grandchildren; five generations with memories that will keep Billie’s character alive for years to come. Her nieces and nephews still recall the years they were able to find comfort in Billie’s embracing and lively personality. She has left many with memories of love, playing tricks on the unknowing, and always inspiring fun times. It could even be said she enjoyed a good joke on many occasions and would often find a naughty pleasure in the re-telling.
Billie has lived the last few years of her life with her daughter and son-in-law, Susan and Craig, often surrounded by loving family. Those who have gone before her and will be welcoming her with open arms are her parents, her husband, her son Thom, her granddaughter Kallie Nicole Parkinson Coles, and her siblings Dixie Shrimpton, Barbara Coyle, and Jimmie J. Graham.
A special thank you to Applegate Hospice for the amazing love and care that was given to Billie as she prepared to leave this life on earth. Jan, Joanna, Dan, Cindi, Macey and many others attended to every need. Thanks to Marlene Summers for the weekly massages and healing touch. The family will be eternally grateful.
Billie’s spirit will forever touch the breeze that blows over the Colorado river and there is no doubt she is doing a jitter bug on her way to heaven where she will be dancing with her darlin’. She will be remembered by all who knew her as happy, fun, loving, forgiving, and a beautiful dancer.
Please join the family for a celebration of life at the graveside on Thursday, April 21st, 2022, at 1:00 pm. The celebration will be held at Lindquist Memorial Gardens of the Wasatch, 1718 Combe Road, Ogden, UT
Thursday, April 21, 2022
Starts at 1:00pm (Mountain time)
Memorial Gardens of the Wasatch
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