Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Joseph Goldye Berkely

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Joseph Goldye Berkely

Article excerpt

Berkely, Joseph Goldye

Nov. 11, 1918 - Sep. 9, 2016

Joseph G. "Joe" Berkely, 97, was born November 11, 1918, in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, the son of Dr. Joseph G. and Goldye Johnson Berkely. As a young boy, Joe was raised on the south side of Chicago, near the shores of Lake Michigan, where his lifelong love of boating and sailing took hold. For protection from the alley gangs roaming the sounth side, Joe's father had him take boxing lessons, and he eventually entered the "Golden Gloves" program.

Joe's years as a "typical Chicago kid" was anything but typical. At around 11 years old, he traveled to France with his mother and sister, attended school there for two years and learned to speak French, a language that would play a significant part in his life during World War II.

Back in Chicago, while in high school, Joe's father taught him how to sail. His first sailboat was a Snipe, invented by a man from Wichita, Kansas. Joe and his high school friends sailed up and down Lake Michigan, camping out on the beach at night, and resuming sailing the next day. It was a good life.

His college education took him to the University of Chicago, Central YMCA College, Notre Dame and the University of Valparaiso, where he completed his bachelor's degree. While at Valparaiso, he was a student of the Civilian Pilot Training Program, which ultimately determined his early path in life.

Joe was studying medicine at the Chicago Medical School when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. His background as a pilot made him a natural candidate for the draft when Uncle Sam began looking for pilots. As a result, Joe spent four years in the Army Air Corps, taking him from Chicago to Bonham, San Antonio and Harlingen, Texas. He ended up at the Dodge City Army Airfield as a B-26 instructor for French pilots.

It was while he was stationed in Dodge City that a friend introduced Joe to Nancy Jane Petersen of Dodge City, at the time a student and Homecoming Queen at the University of Kansas. On weekends Joe would fly a bunch of pilots to Lawrence, Nancy would round up some girls from the Theta house, and with the "big band Era" in full swing and no men at KU at the time because of the war, the pilots were warmly welcomed.

As their friendship grew into love, Joe and Nancy became engaged. After Nancy's graduation from the University of Kansas, they were married on October 21, 1944, in St. Cornelius Episcopal Church in Dodge City. Nancy shared Joe's love of boats, flying and music and they were a favorite couple among their many friends and business associates. In 1956 their family was completed with the birth of a daughter, Nan Griffin.

Joe mustered out of the service in 1945. He served in the Army Reserve and later the National Guard where he retired as a Captain. …

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