CREIGHTON ARMSTRONG BERRY 1923-2019
Creighton Armstrong Berry was born in New York City on September 15, 1923, to Otis and Williamette (née Armstrong) Berry. His parents raised Creighton and his younger brother, Cornelius, in The Bronx. At an early age Creighton exhibited extraordinary talent in the visual arts. Recognizing this, one of his teachers at James Monroe High School advised him to apply to Pratt Institute. He was accepted and attended Pratt Institute and studied advertising arts. Although World War II interrupted his studies, he was able to complete them when he returned home.
Creighton began his career as an apprentice in a New York City art studio working on retail advertising accounts. He moved on first to Ludwig Baumann & Co. as a layout artist, then to Kresge’s Department Store in New Jersey, and on to the position of Art Director of Gimbles Department Store in New York City. In 1969 he made the decision to open his own business resulting in not only a very successful business but also a very satisfying one.
Private life saw Creighton marrying Norma Long of the Bronx in 1949. They had two daughters, Andrea and April. Andrea would excel in the newly emerging field of communications after graduating from Sarah Lawrence College. April pursued a career in the dance world, which saw her emergence as a principal dancer with the Alvin Ailey Dance Company. Creighton involved himself in all of his daughters’ pursuits. After 38 years of marriage, Norma died in 1987.
After a few years Creighton retired and married an old friend, Andrea’s godmother, Mary Lowe. Mary died in 1997.
During Creighton’s career he was very active in the African American community. He founded an organization honoring his mentor, The Reverend Edler Hawkins, which provided funds for emerging African American art groups. Among these organizations are the Studio Museum of Harlem and the Schomburg Center. Creighton belonged to the Jamaica Arts Cooperative - an organization that provides opportunities for artists in the New York community.
In the year 2000, Creighton married his present wife, Claire. They moved to Westhampton Beach into what had been a second home for Creighton and left behind residences in New York City. Using Westhampton Hampton Presbyterian Church as focus to become active in the community, they found a welcoming community. Creighton became a session member and chairman of the Mission Ministry. He walked in Crop Walk, managed the weekly Maureen’s Haven program, and was involved everywhere he felt he could be of service. One of the highlights was his participation at the Presbyterian General Assembly in 2008. The couple belonged to a book club and met monthly with old friends. Creighton and Claire traveled across the world from Asia to Africa and South America. Creighton used this new view of the world to paint the most beautiful of scenes. His work has been widely exhibited.
Creighton is preceded in death by his brother Cornelius, and daughter Andrea. He leaves behind his daughter, April Berry, granddaughter Jessica Berry, nephew Cornelius Berry and wife Denise, niece Jocelyn Johnson, and niece Alison Givens and her husband, great nieces and nephews Benjamin and Christal Berry, and Jared and Taylor Givens. He leaves stepdaughters Janet Lowe, and Valerie and her husband Albert Brown. Step grandchildren Aisha Williams, Cecilia Pittman, Melanie Lynch, and Wesley Brown, step great grands Connor and Hailey Lynch, Aaron Pittman, and Florence and Maxwell Brown. And, his beloved wife Claire.
Services will be held at the Westhampton Presbyterian Church on Saturday, January 4 at 1 p.m. All are welcome. In lieu of flowers the family asks that you please donate to the Westhampton Beach Presbyterian Church Mission Ministry.
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