Dec 5 2012 By Louise Reilly
The sudden death of an inspirational teacher who shaped generations of East Kilbride pupils caused shock this week.
John Berry, 65, who only retired from his post as principal teacher of geography at Calderglen High in the summer, was found by his wife of over 40 years, Anne, in their home last Wednesday.
It is thought the popular and well-respected teacher died of a massive heart attack.
And among the warm tributes paid to the teacher were those of former pupil, Rangers manager Ally McCoist.
He said this week: “I remember John very well from my school days, he was a fantastic teacher and I was so sorry to hear of his passing. My thoughts are with John’s family and friends at this difficult time.”
The father-of -two leaves behind Anne, his daughter Nicola and son Richard, and their partners Luca and Louise.
He also leaves behind 15-month-old grandson Oskar, who was “the apple of his eye”, Anne told the News.
“John’s passing came as a shock to us all, especially myself as I found him,” she said. “He will be very much missed by all of us but our grandson Oskar, who John absolutely doted on, is keeping us all going.
“My abiding memory will be of the holiday the whole family spent together in Italy in the summer.
“It took a bit of work to arrange it and get us all together but it was fantastic and John absolutely loved it.
“He had a great sense of humour and loved teaching. John had a great rapport with the youngsters and was a very well respected teacher.
“He also had many friends in our home town of Larkhall and loved to go out walking.
“John also loved watching football, especially his team Rangers, and loved doing his crosswords.”
During his 40-year teaching career John taught at Duncanrig Secondary, Claremont, Hunter High and latterly, Calderglen High.
John’s son Richard told the News he fondly reminisced about one well-known former pupil, who shared his love of football and would go on to play for and now manages his team.
“The young up-and-coming footballer was none other than Ally McCoist and he used to read my dad’s paper at the break and they would have in-depth discussions about the football,” said Richard.
“My dad always spoke about the time, years later, when Ally went back to Claremont to see him and my dad looked out and re-wrote Ally’s report cards in a more favourable light.”
Head teacher and Calderglen High, Tony McDaid, told the News everyone at the school was deeply saddened to hear of John’s sudden death.
He said: “We have lost a really good friend and colleague and we will all miss him. His death came as a great shock to everyone and the whole school community has been saddened by it.
“John was extremely influential to generations of young people in East Kilbride and was always highly regarded in the profession. He did a lot of work for the SQA and was also an examiner at Standard Grade.
“He had a great warmth and a great sense of humour and was very well liked by the pupils.
“He really had a great rapport with them.
“John also had a great love of his subject along with his rapport with the pupils – a winning combination for a teacher.”