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James G. Berry

Jan 15, 2016

James G. Berry, “Rusty,” of Shepherdstown died at his home, on Jan. 2, 2016, at age 62. With him were his wife and partner of 30 years, Pam; stepchildren, Sean Hall and Erin Jewell; and grandson, Benjamin Jewell.

He was born June 8, 1953, in Corpus Christi, Texas, to the late James R. and Irene Berry. The oldest of four children, Rusty grew up along the Gulf Coast in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi, as his family worked in the naval and aeronautical industries. He majored in Mathematics andPhilosophy at the University of Southern Mississippi.

In 1976, he moved to Arlington, Virginia, where he started a career in computer communications, moved briefly to San Francisco, then returned to the DC area.

He discovered Shepherdstown on a motorcycle trip and became enamored, relocating permanently in 1990. He purchased the Opera House building in 1989, and spent three years repairing and renovating it, reopening the Shepherdstown Opera House movie theatre in 1992 after a 27-year hiatus. The theatre was his primary vocation until it was sold in 2010.

In 1994 Rusty and his wife opened the Old Pharmacy Cafe restaurant in a drug store vacated by the retiring pharmacist. They operated it until 1999, when they sold it.

In 1997 they purchased the Ye Olde Sweet Shoppe bakery, now Shepherdstown Sweet Shop, which they still own and operate.

Rusty delighted in exchanging jokes with everyone. He had an amazing memory and could remember names and anecdotes about most people he met. On a trip to New Orleans, he took a Cajun cooking class, developed a love of Louisiana cuisine and became an accomplished cook, developing recipes for a cook book he was writing. He is survived by his wife, Pamela Mayfield Berry; brother, Daniel (Lena) Berry; sister, Christine (Mike) San Luis; and nieces, Valerie and Samantha; sister-in-law, Marlene Berry; and nephew, Lee. He was preceded in death by his brother, Clayton Lee Berry.

His wish was to be cremated. A memorial wake is planned in early February for family and friends to celebrate his life. Expressions of sympathy may be sent in care of Shepherdstown Sweet Shop, P.O. Box 1672, Shepherdstown WV 25443.