Major Contribution to Ravenna Schools
John was born on September 6, 1952, in Detroit Michigan. He was the third child born to John Jr. and Lottie (Polk) Berry, and lived in Ravenna for most of his life. John graduated from Ravenna High School in 1971 and furthered his education at Tri-State College in Angola, Indiana. While in college, he served on the Student Senate and excelled in track and field events. Upon his graduation in 1975, he returned to Ravenna. John’s love of children was evident in both his professional and personal life. His past professional positions include guidance counselor, teacher, and coach at Ravenna High School. He worked for the Portage County Adult Probation Department for ten years, then moved to the Juvenile Court System in 1989, as the Director of Youth Rehabilitation, where he remained until his death. In addition to his work with Portage County, he was also a member of a variety of organizations, including, but not limited to, the Skeels Improvement Center, Family and Children’s First Council, Ravenna School ‘s Safe and Drug Free Board, Community Action Council, Portage County Black Caucus, the Community Corrections Board and was a member of the Portage County Leadership Class of 1999. John attended the Newman Center in Kent, and often spoke to churches and school youth about the perils of drug abuse and crime. John was an avid reader and enjoyed exercising, bowling, playing softball, and traveling. His favorite pastime was being surrounded by his twelve nieces and nephews and eighteen grand nieces and nephews.