Kenneth Berry, MD’56

On February 8, 2011, a reading room in the pathology department at Vancouver General Hospital was dedicated in the memory of Dr. Kenneth Berry, who passed away in 2006. At the time of his retirement from the VGH, he was neuropathology section chief. The memorial reading room was proposed by Dr. Berry’s long-time colleague and current chief of neuropathology, Dr. Katarina Zis. Donations from friends and colleagues were made to the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation, which organized this event. Dr. Michael Allard, professor and head of the UBC Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, opened the presentation, which was attended by about 50 of Dr. Berry’s friends, family and colleagues. He was followed by Allison Berry, who gave personal recollections and thanks from the family, and finally by the presentation of the current leading text book on neuropathology from the Canadian Association of Neuropathologists.

Ken was born in Calgary, AB, in 1932, and moved with his family to Vancouver at 15 with an eye to studying medicine (unbeknownst to his parents, UBC had no medical school at that time). But by the time he was ready, so was UBC and Ken was a member of the university’s third graduating class. His post-graduate studies were completed in Vancouver, Ann Arbor, MI, and Toronto, after which he filled the neurology position requested by Dr. Joe Cluff to complement the new neurological surgery unit at St. Paul’s Hospital.

In 1973, he pursued further studies in neuropathology in New York at the Albert Einstein Hospital. After this year of study, he returned to VGH as a neuropathologist, finding the work extremely satisfying. Facing mandatory retirement at 65, he returned to St. Paul’s for another six years of consultative practice, complaining mildly: “now that I’m finally beginning to know something, I’ve got to quit.”

In his retirement, he took up studio arts, completing classes at Emily Carr University of Art + Design and in Italy. Having tried various techniques, his final collection consisted of a series of mono prints, one of which is on permanent display in the pathology department’s memorial reading room at VGH.