Falcon Community Mourns Loss of Coach

By Brandon HENSLEY

The Crescenta Valley community was saddened to learn CV High School softball coach Dan Berry passed away early Wednesday morning at Verdugo Hills Hospital.

Berry, 66, suffered two seizures inside the school’s coaches’ office Oct. 11 and went into cardiac arrest. He was treated by paramedics before being taken to the hospital. He had been sedated and on a ventilator until last week when the ventilator was removed. He was provided with hospice care.

His daughter, Jenny Shaver, had been giving updates on Berry’s condition through caringbridge.org, a site that allows family and friends to connect in times of crisis.

Shaver reported on the site her father had low brain activity and on Oct. 20 she wrote her father would not want to be kept alive artificially, and the family had decided to remove the ventilator.

“He never wanted to be sustained by artificial means,” Shaver wrote. “He made that very clear to his children. If he could not be giving his 150% to everything he did on or off the softball field, then he would feel his life is pointless. We have decided to show him our utmost respect and honor his wishes. It is time to let the Lord cradle him in his arms, forever.”

The school has reached out to players and coaches within the program. Principal Michele Doll said counseling has been made available to anyone affected.

“The school has support available with all of the girls and any other students or staff that need that,” she said.

CV Girls’ Athletic Director Peter Kim said the department would not release any statement until the family had time to put out their thoughts to the public.

In his final days, Berry had been surrounded by family, friends and his former athletes.

Erin Ashby, a standout player who graduated from CV four months ago, could not be at the hospital because she is currently attending Stanford University. Through a phone interview she talked about the impact Berry made on her and the softball program.

“Although the girls are the ones who actually play the game, he’s the heart and soul of the program,” Ashby said. “My past four years have been some of the best years of my life and I owe a lot of that to him.”

Berry leaves behind a legacy at CV that is hard to touch. He started the softball program at the school in 1983. His all-time record is 570-111, and his teams have won 20 Pacific League titles, the most recent coming last season in which the Lady Falcons tied Burroughs for the championship. In 1986, the program won the CIF Southern Section, the first for any CV girls’ team.

“His record obviously speaks for itself, and the sheer number of girls he impacted,” said parent John Heurkins, who had two daughters play in the program.

Heurkins helped raise money with Berry when they fundraised for a new batting cage and said it was a privilege to get to know him.

“Not very many people get to know him as an individual and I was fortunate enough to be in that position,” he said.

“He was a wonderful man,” said Doll, “and he did a lot for the school and the community and the softball program, and he was loved and respected. He will be really missed.”

  • Sarah

    He was a man I truly respected and his love for the game and how he shaped his teams to be the best that they could be is something that will always be with me forever.